At the top of Quarry Hill, mason bees are busy around their nest holes in the mortar of an old stone wall. At first I think they’re a yellow and brown insect but the yellow appears to be the pollen sac on the leg. When I look at photographs of mason bees, they mostly carry the pollen on the underside of the abdomen, so I need to check out that detail when I see them again.
They stock the nest holes with pollen then seal the entrance with mud. The larva grows, then pupates in the hole. Several bees might use the same hole, one after another, so when it comes to emergence it must be a case of ‘first in, last out’.
You can now buy bee nest boxes at most garden centres and bird reserve gift shops, so perhaps it’s time for me to invest in one (or make my own) so that I can take a closer look. Bumblebees have already taken over the blue tit box, a hint that I ought to start thinking about insect homes.