Yesterday I thought I saw one fly past the bee houses. Today I had my camera at the ready and I saw the first male Osmia cornuta starting their search for a mate.
I never tire of seeing the first faces peer out of the holes.
It takes a little while to work up the courage to come totally out.
The next step is a good groom. He has managed to chew his way out of the capsule his mother so carefully sealed last summer with grains of sand like material. However, squeezing through his exit has left him covered in fine debris and he must smarten up before he competes with the other males for a female.
It will be a long wait, usually a few weeks before the females emerge. This year spring has started early. February 24 is an early date for the Osmia cornuta to emerge.
I have noticed a lot of “Gendarme” beetles (Pyrrhocoris apterus) this year. Seemingly they eat dead or dying insects. I hope they act as housekeepers for the bee houses as it is not only the bees that use them.
This little wasp seemed over awed by its larger more forceful neighbour.
Shield bugs have also been very evident this winter. It has been a wet winter but not very cold, so perhaps it was a good winter for them.
This one might be a Gorse Shield Beetle (Pyrrhocoris apterus), there is certainly plenty of gorse around here.
I got these hints on the beetles from the marvellous sites of Chris Luck. I have found his sites so helpful and he keeps adding additional information.