Watching the bees work on building their homes is entertaining to me. I watch them as they finish off a tunnel capping it off with a final cell of mud. In the first part of the video a bee can be seen laying down mud to seal off the larva they will be laying inside. Since every female Solitary Bee is a queen they all lay offspring. The hole to the left of this bee is complete sealed off with mud. But the one on the right has one more layer to go before its complete.
They find mud that has been broken up and is easy for them to collect and bring back to the homes they are building. After many trips the home is complete and they move onto the next hole to start the process all over again.
Sometimes you will see many of them working on holes next to each other, each bee seems to have its own mission of completing homes and they work solo. Unlike Honey Bees that all work together for a single hive. Each female Solitary Bee will forage, build homes and make offspring. The males are only around for the first few weeks to mate with the females and then they die off. Leaving the adult female Mason Bees to do all the work on building homes and sourcing pollen for their offspring.
Standing outside recording these bees was rough, it was peak pollen season and my sinuses took a beating. If you hear me coughing sorry about that, did my best to stay quiet when recording the bees.
Near the end of this video I show what the bees look like in the morning before the day warms up. They tend to stay inside the holes they are working on and just poke their heads out waiting for the weather to warm up so they can start the day foraging for pollen, nectar and mud. Since these Solitary Bees emerge in the early spring some mornings are pretty chilly and the bees need to wait for the day to warm up so their cold blooded bodies will work.
In the next part of this series we will take a look at their overall work area, placing my camera back we will see more of the homes in use instead of focusing on single homes.
During the few months while these bees were out and from February through April I brought my tripod outside along with my Lumix GH3 camera, I put my Olympus MSC ED M. 60mm Macro lens on it and just let it record them working hard at their homes.
In this series I will be using a Shure VP83 LensHopper external microphone to capture the sounds of the bees. A high pitched buzzing can be heard occasionally coming from inside the homes when the Bees are shaking off the pollen they collected. And the video is recorded at 60 FPS for smooth footage of the bees flying and moving around. Using LBRY as my video platform, the video I rendered is what you get in playback, so there should be little to no loss when viewing.
Two kinds of Mason Bees can be seen entering and leaving the homes. The most easy way to tell which is which is their butts. One has a plain black abdomen (Osmia cornuta) also known as a European Orchard Bee. And the other has a yellow fuzzy abdomen (Osmia leaiana) also known as a Orange-vented Mason Bee.