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Red Mason Bee

Red Mason Bee – Osmia bicornis (Male)

Osmia bicornis – male

I really look forward to seeing these handsome little chaps each year. The Red mason bee Osmia bicornis is a species of solitary bee often seen in spring and early summer, usually from late March to early June, although this year due to the very cold weather they’ve been a little late. The males appear first, up to two weeks before the females and so like the male pictured above they spend a fair bit of time preening and sunbathing before the girls arrive.

These are extremely friendly bees. The male has no sting and the female will only sting if handled very roughly and even then the sting is very mild in comparison to the sting of a wasp, bumblebee or honey-bee. So these are good bees for children to get up close to and observe. Read more

Sunbathing hoverfly

Hover-fly Helophilus pendulus

Helophilus pendulus

I took this photo of the Hoverfly Helophilus pendulus last September. Hoverflies seem to enjoy the sunshine and can often be found sunbathing. I believe this is the female. This species which is often found in gardens can be identified by its yellow face and black stripe between the eyes and the distinctive longitudinal stripes on its thorax.  Read more