It was actually the 26 February that I saw my first male Osmia cornuta.
It was not until 19 March that I saw the first female. She reminds me a bit of Winnie the Poo trying to get into Rabbit’s hole. She is much more substantially built than her mate and he has had to wait a long time for her to hatch out, as usual.
She gets straight onto the task of laying eggs and providing each one with enough stores of pollen to grow into a new bee. She goes in head first with her load of pollen neatly attached to her hairy abdomen and then comes out after she has pressed the pollen in place with her head, still with the pollen grains adhering to her.
I have not seen as many of these bees as in previous years.
Kourosh discovered a suspect tiny hill of soil just outside our front door and marked it for me with some twigs. As I passed by this morning, I noticed the soil quiver – just as I had seen molehills move on occasion.
The hole is completely covered in the evening so I quickly rushed in for my camera and sat to wait. I was rewarded by the appearance of this little head. After a few tentative ups and downs, she eventually flew out.
I think she might be an Andrena fulva. I usually see her later on the raspberries so I would be interested in what she favours at the moment. I will keep my eyes open for her now.
We have discovered another bulb worth planting in pots to attract the bees. Puschkinia are like mini Hyacinth but their flowers are more open for the bees. In addition they are gently perfumed. I find them a little small and pallid but if you like to attract pollinators to your patio you might like to try them.
All the bees have a huge amount of pollen to choose from at this time. The Willow is just about finished but the woods are full of white Sloe blossom. Gardens are full of flowering fruit trees and our honeybees are working hard bringing in the pollen.