Sunday 5 July 2015

The knapweed bee

A few years ago I introduced some native knapweed in the garden. I planted them on the beds and they did well. However, the following year they didn't come back on the beds, they selfseeded in the cracks in the cement and now I have several large plants growing amongst pots from the cement. They attract many bees, but one in particular, enjoys this plant the most, the small mason bee Osmia leaiana. Males are beautiful golden bees with green eyes, while the females are dark, with an orange brush of hairs under they abdomen, which they use to collect pollen. They often dive head first into knapweed inflorescenced and their orange underside becomes quite visible.
 Today I was very pleased to find out these bees are using my bee hotels, I hope to get some photos of the cells they are stocking soon.


RayHolden said...

Lovely to see.

I am totally overwhelmed with the number of species of bee I am seeing this year across S. Yorkshire. (I'm also trying to record the clepto-parasites of them all).
Steven Falk has a new and comprehensive book on UK bees on pre-order on Amazon - to be published October. In conjunction with his flickr site images of Hymenoptera, it will be beyond invaluable. I've already got my copy on order.

LeeAnn at Mrs Black's said...

I adore Mason Bees, we have several living in holes between the wood on my garden shed and in a Bee house we put up for them. I do not have this plant and will try to cultivate it in our cottage garden for them. Lovely image!

Africa Gomez said...

Thank you for your comment Ray, I am going to order Steven's book immediately, I love his Flickr site!

Africa Gomez said...

Thank you for your comment LeeAnn, I got my knapweeds from Meadowmania online as plug plants a few years back together with other native plants (foxgloves, primroses, toadflax, oxeye daisies), they are doing well. Good luck!