The poop on pollinators

Mason Bees

One of the earliest of our native bees to emerge, the mason or blue orchard bee (Osmia lignaria) is an excellent pollinator of early fruit crops.

  • Masons are solitary bees.
  • Each female mates and is responsible for finding and provisioning her own nest.
  • The male bee is smaller than the female, with yellow hairs on his face and longer antennae (pictured at right).
  • Mason bees are cavity-nesting, using mud (hence, their name) to separate the nesting cells and to cap off the cavity. Each cell is provisioned with a ball of pollen upon which one egg is laid (pictured at left). The resultant larva will eat the pollen, then pupate.

Did you know that male bees cannot sting? Native female bees are capable of stinging,
but rarely do so. This is not true of female English honey bees, which are not native.