Osmia bicolor

Osmia bicolor

profile iconOsmia bicolor1
by František ŠARŽÍK (CC BY 3.0)
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A close up photograph of Two-coloured Mason Bee Osmia bicolor on a leaf
profile iconOsmia bicolor1
by František ŠARŽÍK (CC BY 3.0)
1 of 3
The Two-Coloured Mason Bee is a cute insect with a unique approach to nest construction; where they'll use vacant snail shells to lay their eggs. These bees repurpose snail shells, where one shell can contain up to 5 larvae! The term 'helicophiles' was coined to describe the behaviour, translating to 'snail lovers'. Females are particularly choosy, so finding a suitable shell can be hard work; which is why O.bicolor will only make around seven snail-nests in a lifetime. Unfortunately, this unique behaviour makes these bees vulnerable to environmental pressures like climate change and habitat loss.
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Traits

It can take a bee many trips until they have collected sufficient pollen for larvae, making them effective pollinators.

Appearance

Adults: Osmia bicolor is a small bee, just reaching over 1cm. They're attractive, boasting bright gingery fuzz that covers the majority of the abdomen. Males are less striking in comparison.

Activity

Diurnal

Personality

Order

Hymenoptera

Family

Megachilidae

Metamorphosis

Complete

Distribution

Southern England and Wales.

Biological treatment

These bees are among some of the first to emerge in the year. Help and encourage them to your garden by planting flowers which bloom as early as February.

Chemical treatment

It's not advised to treat gardens with bees. Plants which are in flower should not be sprayed if possible. Bees can be affected even if they weren't intended to be.

Attracts

These bees become active as early as February, so they can be helped by planting early blooming flowers.
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Knowledge and advice

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