I knew I was going to repaint this one, so here is this serious little mason bee again. I have to be completely frank .. she is not the most elegant of bees. The female bees have rather large heads, which plus the accompanying horns give her a rather pugnacious appearance. She will use the horns to shape the mud for her nest. I have written about the Osmia Orchard bees both UK and USA before here, so I am not going to say much more and there is oodles of info on the internet.
Solitary Bee Blog
One delightful and fascinating blog is from Paul at http://solitarybee.com/blog/. Paul lives near Paris and charts his life with his solitary bees and his successes and failures in trying to increase their numbers. He talks about his concerns, his observations and conclusions with affection and humour. He doesn’t have fancy bee nests, some are as simple as beer cans and rolled paper. He is a diligent and resourceful carer. I particular liked his use of a black socks to keep out the light and prevent his cocoons from premature emergence (from an early post here). There are some short films with French bird soundtracks and lots of info about the care of Osmia rufa and cornuta
“End of 2009 solitary bee successes – c.90 cocoons became 400” Photo by Paul from his blog,,
I am quoting a piece from his intro which is interesting, not only because of his appreciation for and understanding of these lovely bees but for the curious attitude of the French.
“According to the experts, each bee can pollinate up to ten times more flowers than a honey bee but they are in no way aggressive to those in their midst. Over here in France, they are often misunderstood by people looking on; where my ‘colony’ of bees live, the locals here refer to them as lazy bees because they don’t produce honey (and thus appear to be of no exploitable value).
For me however they are a source of inspiration. What they achieve in their focused short existence leaves the world in a much better shape – in 2007 our orchards were full of fruit.”
I hope you are getting your message across Paul.
I changed the painting, made her a little smaller and daintier, and, in tribute to their unsung work in the orchards, she is now flying up towards apple blossom. .. I think this will also be the title of the painting…
There Will Be Apples.
Watercolour and pencil on Arches HP approx 7 x 8”