Red Mason Bee - Osmia bicornis

Alternative names
Osmia rufa

The males are smaller than the females 6 to 11 mm. Both sexes are covered in dense gingery hairs, the male with white tufts on the head while the female's head is black.

Identification difficulty

Around suitable nesting sites.

When to see it

The Red Mason Bee is active from early spring, the male being the first to appear when the weather becomes mild in March, the female emerging later. Like all bees it feeds on pollen.

Life History

It is a solitary bee, each nest being the work of a single female bee working alone. They nest in pre-existing cavities such as hollow plant stems, old garden canes, air bricks, and even old nail holes in fence posts, lining the inside of the cavity with mud.

UK Status

Widespread and fairly frequent in England and Wales, less records from further north.

VC55 Status

Fairly frequent in Leicestershire and Rutland.

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map