Thursday, February 23, 2017

O. Bee E.

Whenever I say OBE I think of my uncle. Not that he received this honor, Order of the British Empire. It was just that he felt most of the time it was other b--s efforts that had resulted in the award.
That is true for a little bee who has been busy sealing off the hole in this mud pueblo.

He didn't build the pueblo. Those efforts were made by a small mud dauber wasp a few years ago.  He has just rented it out for the year when the occupants left.  Just outside the kitchen door, it has been there for a few years and I have witnessed several tenants over the years. I would remove it but it is just too much fun watching to see who will be next.  Don't they see the special bee house I made for them near the lemon trees?

This year it is an orchard bee, Osmia lignaria. The orchard bee is a solitary bee which favors the pollen of fruit trees. I saw one on my citrus the other day and now he is securing the future of more bees by using this empty nest by the door.

He's quite distinctive having a blue sheen to his abdomen. He has been gathering pollen from my lemon flowers, rolling it into a ball with saliva and then inserting it inside the nest. He lays an egg on the top of the pollen ball, seals that cell and then repeats until the nests filled. Usually about five. Then he seals the hole with clay. The egg will hatch, pupate and wait until early next spring to leave the nest. The first egg laid in the nest will be a female and the last a male. Obviously he has been hard at work all week as he is now putting a door on the nest.
Now he will have to hope that the parasitic wasp doesn't come by, drill a hole in the door and lay its own egg on top of the other one. Oh! yes, I witnessed that one year.


  1. That's one very pretty -or perhaps I should say handsome - bee! I hope his efforts are fruitful. Nature is very good at making use of leftover materials. If only humans did as well.

  2. For what it's worth, Jenny, the Orchard bees currently nest-building are using my bee house/hotel more this year, than last--which was the first year I had them (2) up. Regardless, they like to build in all sorts of places, so good for them and us!