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Fact of the Week: After leaving the nest male Red Mason Bees only live for 2 to 3 weeks. Time enough to mate with the female but they play no part in collecting pollen to feed the eggs.
Where do Red Mason Bees Nest?
Popular places include: holes in the mortar between brick walls, sunny sandy banks, fallen dead logs, small holes in mature hedgerow bushes and hollow plant stems.
Unusual places include: holes in a flint stone, locks and shed guttering!
Inside a Red Mason Bee Nest
Spring and early summer
Wherever, a female Red Mason Bee chooses to locate her home the inside of the nest will always look the same. Lots of cells each with a single egg and food (pollen) and separated from the next by a layer of mud. The cells with the female eggs are at the back of the nest and the cells with the male eggs at the front. If you stand a few metres away from your Bee Box this spring and summer and watch closely you will see the female transporting mud pellets to close each single nesting cell and pollen to feed the growing eggs.
Autumn and winter
By the end of September the female Red Mason Bee will have sealed the front entrance of the nest to stop other insects entering. Inside, the eggs will have “moulted” 4 or 5 times before hatching into larvae. Once the larvae are fully grown each will spin around its body a tough brown silk cocoon and it is here they will hibernate until the following spring when the new generation of adult Red Mason Bees emerge and the cycle begins again.
Top: Red Mason Bee Homes Bricks and log piles
Middle: Red Mason Bee eggs Bottom: Red Mason Bee Cocoon
Next report: Tuesday 8th May 2018
How do Red Mason Bees collect Pollen?