Mason Bees in their cocoons in my garden

The inside of the nesting box I have for solitary bees (Mason Bees, Osmia rufa) for my garden. They’re not hive bees, as in honey bees, but are good pollinators, hence my improved fruit crops last year. Each tube is a cocoon housing a hibernating bee, there are about a dozen more in the large release tube top left, to which I have added another twenty.

The good news is those five which did the whole life-cycle thing last year and which came back to hibernate. Days getting longer and the air temperatures warming up now, so I’ve seen some visiting bees and other insects already around. My rosemary is in flower and there are shrubs around also in flower, so my own bees will be waking up before long, emerging from their cocoons and starting to forage. Mason Bees have a calm, placid character, not at all aggressive; they are solitary, there’s no swarm behaviour, no queen/worker social structure, unlike hive bees.

2015 Lime harvest was rather bigger that the previous year: 2014 Key Lime pie