Red Mason Bee Osmia bicornis (Linnaeus, 1758)
One of the commonest solitary bees, Osmia bicornis (formerly Osmia rufa), is more commonly known as the Red Mason Bee. Both sexes are densely clothed with reddish brown hairs, with the male having a dense tuft of white hairs on the front of the head, with the female's head being entirely dark brown/black.

It has an annual life-cycle and is active in spring and early summer, from late March through to the end of June. The adult's life span is relatively short, the female making small nests of a few cells within simple holes in walls and wood. The cavity is filled with a supply of pollen and then closed up. The larvae then develop and pupate, but don't emerge until the following Spring.
Nottinghamshire (VC56) distribution of Osmia bicornis
The records for the Nottinghamshire distribution map are currently provided by the following contributors - Trevor and Dilys Pendleton. Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust. Tim Sexton. Wil Heeney. Stuart Warrington. The National Trust (Clumber Park invertebrate records). Pauline Bradford. Barry Lygo. Netherfield Wildlife Group. Brian Wetton.

You can contribute your own records to help us gain an accurate status of this species in Nottinghamshire. Send an Excel spreadsheet of your records via the 'contact us' link at the top of the homepage.

Updated January 2024

copyright Trevor and Dilys Pendleton ( . .
Ants, Bees and Wasps Photo Gallery - Thumbnail version
Ants, Bees and Wasps Photo Gallery - Text version