How mason bees use flowers to keep their offspring safe
Without the support of a colony, solitary bees have to come up with creative ways of keeping their offspring safe. Bees in the genus Osmia are known as mason bees because they build nests in cracks and cavities and seal them with materials like clay and mud. One species, Osmia avosetta, produces nests much prettier than the others; the females dig shallow burrows and line them with carefully selected flower petals ready for their eggs.
Layering up After papering the walls of the burrow with overlapping petals, the female bee spreads a thin coating of mud over them before adding another layer. Most mason bees seal existing cavities and tubes with mud and chewed leaves to create their nestsShelter from the cold The nest cell doesn’t just keep the egg safe from the outside world – it also keeps conditions cosy enough inside for the larva to survive a cold winter.