Sprint officially started in the garden on 24 March 2019 as the first species appeared, some of which reluctantly enjoyed the warm sunlight where others were clearly basking and enjoying it to the fullest.
Among that latter category belonged this beautiful lady, the European orchard bee (Osmia cornuta).
That day three of them sat on the warm wall and every now and then playfully chasing each other.
The bees stand out in the crowd because of the contrasting color pattern with the bright carmin red abdomen and deep black thorax and head. Their large size give them an even more impressive appearance.
The bees had lots of interest for the bee hotel and soon started inspecting the largest holes, which up till now have not been used yet. After some time they started to show nesting behaviour.
This is my first encounter with this species and with that a new garden species! That’s a very nice start for the new season 🤘🏻😎.
One of the bees is ready with her first nest and is starting a new one in the new nestingblock I installed two days ago.
After the easter weekend I didn’t see the bees again. The last two nests under construction have been finalized, although the nest plug is much deeper than usual.
The males are always the first to appear from the nests and fly excitedly around the bee hotels. Regularly they check on the nests from which they emerged for the arrival of females.
Osmia cornuta is a large bee, the females therefore prefer the larger nest holes.
References1 Peeters, T.M.J., H. Nieuwenhuijsen, J. Smit, F. van der Meer, I.P. Raemakers, W.R.B. Heitmans, C. van Achterberg, M. Kwak, A.J. Loonstra, J. de Rond, M. Roos & M. Reemer 2012. De Nederlands bijen (Hymennoptera: Apidae s.l.). - Natuur van Nederland 11, Naturalis Biodiversity Center & European Invertebrate Survey - Nederland, Leiden.
2 wildebijen.nl, "De Nederlandse bijen en hun relaties, overzicht van in Nederland en Vlaanderen voorkomende solitaire en sociale bijen (Apidea s.l.)"