Around where I live these bees emerge in late February. The time can vary in different places based on when temperatures rise above 55F (12C). In North Georgia this will occur early on in February or March. Winter is not usually done by then and sometimes we even get some snow around that time of year. Luckily the bees have not been subjected to snow but they do deal with cold weather. Some mornings its freezing or close to and the bees must take cover in their homes. They cannot simply crawl back into their cocoons once they emerge. So they must take shelter, usually in the tunnels they came from. Or the ones they are building at the time. By late morning the frosts usually reside and the bees will come out to find nectar and take their first flights. They find sunny spots to stay so they do not get too cold early on but I am amazed how well they deal with cold snaps. The colder it is the further they will crawl into their homes, the wind is cut down that way and they deal with these temporary cold snaps. The Peach tree is usually their favorite flower this time of year since not much else has bloomed so early on. That and the Oregon Grape plants are some of the most visited plants in the early spring.
In the next video I chime in on the end of the season and take a look at all the hard work those little bees accomplished. We also see a scrolling view of all the homes up in the cubbies.
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.