They are out!

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.

11 thoughts on “They are out!

  1. Pingback: Definitely spring | a french garden

  2. Hi Amelia….
    The one in your photo is not a true “Gendarme” beetle (Pyrrhocoris apterus)…. rather, it is one of the Lygaeidae or Groundbugs…. the group is vast and the one you’ve caught on “film” isn’t in any of my books, they are plant bugs, some being pestilential. It probably overwintered in the spaces between the tubes and woke with the warmth that woke the masons.
    I need to check our tubes tomorrow….. we haven’t been as warm, but the Big Black Bombers are active….

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lovely photos, I have never seen Osmia cornuta in person. They reached the UK in the last 3-4 years and there have been two reports already this year that I know of. One report for 2020 was from Cheltenham so perhaps they are on their way to Wales!

    Liked by 1 person

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