Red Mason Bee Osmia rufa

The following little bee appeared in our garden in April 2000 for the first time. It keeps on returning ever since. It is smaller than the Honey Bee, with striking yellow hairs, even on the legs. During the night and when the weather is bad it stays in a small cavity in our shed. It hides there in a small group of some 8 animals. As soon as the sun returns, they fly away. It is the Red Mason Bee, also known as the Red Solitary Bee. To the left you see a male. The females, depicted to the right, have black rather than white hairs on the face. There are some 20 species of Mason Bees in the Benelux.

The Red Mason Bee is also referred to as the Red Solitary Bee. In the USA Mason Bees are often called Orchard Bees.