Red Mason Bee

tawny mining bee“Are you there?” I heard Barbara shouting, “Have I got a bee on my back?!”

No bee in sight: “I was ironing the quilt cover and I heard this buzzing, then it stopped . . . and started again.”

When I helped her fold up the quilt cover earlier we heard no buzzing but the bee must have been trapped in there all the time, narrowly escaping being crushed when we folded the cover and miraculously surviving being flattened by the steam iron. It must have found its way in when the cover was hanging on the clothes line.

We carefully turned the cover inside out and I scooped up the bee in a bug box, none the worse for its adventure.

It buzzed around franticly in the bug box so I sketched it as quickly as possible and snapped away, attempting to take a photograph of it (below).

Field Guide to Bees

bee book
Red mason bee in Field Guide to the Bees of Great Britain and Ireland.

bee field guideThis gives me my first opportunity to use my new Field Guide to the Bees of Great Britain and Ireland, by Steven Falk, illustrated by Richard Lewington.

It’s a female red mason bee, Osmia bicornis but from my photographs and very quick sketch, I’d labelled it in my sketchbook as a tawny mining bee. Tawny mining bees make their nests in sandy paths and on bare patches on sunny hillsides but I haven’t seen them in the immediate area however every year I see the mason bees nesting in old walls and cavities in the lime mortar between the bricks in our house wall. We usually have to rescue a few that have found their way into the house.

With apologies for the photography, it was buzzing madly around the bug box.
With apologies for the photography, it was buzzing madly around the bug box.

Links

Field Guide to the Bees of Great Britain and Ireland

Steven Falk, artist, naturalist and photographer.

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