Sunday, 3 May 2009

Osmia rufa update

The new bee post has been a great source of both entertainment and frustration (lots of blurry shots of bees leaving nest!). Now females are very busy going in and out of the nests and we can follow live how each provisions the cells and finally blocks the nest entrance with dark mud. Today three cells had been finished. The bees feed all around the garden. They visit the apple blossom and the rosemary. A new development is that we have found the cleptoparasitic fly Cacoxenus indagator visiting the post - not yet entering nests. Not only have the bees been quick adopting the new bee post, but they have rapidly been followed by their parasites.
This is a selection of photos of the last couple of weeks.
A pair of Osmia rufa. Apparently, the male stays on top of the female for a while after mating. Note the smaller size of the male and the 'horns' on the face of the female
A bee about to leave the nest. It looks like a male
Another male inspecting a hole
Female starting to build the last cell wall
The wall is almost complete
The finishing touches
The finished nest
This little fly - same size and family than the fruit fly - is a cleptoparasite of Osmia rufa nests. It lays its eggs on the stored pollen in the cells.

An article with interesting photo of the inside of the nest
Another article with lots of info on associated fauna to Osmia rufa nests

3 comments:

Rambling Rob said...

Your bee post is a great project. Approx what size diameter are the holes you drilled, and how far into the post? I fancy having a go at this!

Blackbird said...

Thank you Rambling Rob! The holes are as recommended in other sites, 8 mm diameter although we drilled a few smaller ones (6 mm) and are around 3-5 cm deep. If you get a nice old branch I think it is also beautiful to have in the garden tied up to garden posts.

Les said...

Your bee post is great. No garden here, but I might try this at the local eco park if they ok it