Osmia Californica

The little guy is a male Osmia Californica, my next Mason Bee species that I am attempting to keep. He was the first the emerge. In fact, when he arrived with his brothers and sisters still wrapped up tightly in their cocoons, he had already emerged and was crawling out of the box! I put him and his whole nest in the refridgerator for several days. During that time, he just sat, nearly frozen, on the nesting material.

Today, I nailed their nest to the side of the shed. He started warming up and showing signs of life. He crawled up to the top of the nest, hoping for some rays of sunshine to reheat his chilled body. I took this picture once he reached the top. I came back an hour later and he had apparently warmed up enough because he was gone.

You can tell he's a male because he has a white patch above his mouth and his antenae are really long. Once he starts flying more, he'll bulk up to about double this size.

The Californicae are later fliers than the lignariae. They also are less picky about what they will pollinate. Lignaria tend to prefer fruit trees, while Californica like flowers, especially sun flowers. They also build their nests slightly differently: They recess the mud plug while their cousins put it flush with the outside of the straw.


At 3/23/05, 11:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahhh he is a cutey! Give him some beer, fatten him up!



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