The Red Mason Bee species is known for being an important pollinator and plays a crucial role in maintaining ecosystems

The Red Mason Bee

These bees love mud pies...

Did you know that a female red mason bee takes 20 trips to find mud to build its cell?

That's something to watch out for in your garden!

So, How Can You Recognise Them?

The males are smaller and slimmer than their female counterparts and have thin antennae. Female mason bees are much larger bees with boxy heads and horns on their heads.

Despite their name, red mason bees are also orange in colour.

Where Can You Find Red Mason Bees?

You will find red mason bees between bricks and other cavities in buildings. They also like DIY bee hotels as they can build their mud cells in the narrow bamboo tubes.

Between April and June, you can see them buzzing about in parks and gardens across the UK.

Are Red Mason Bees Solitary or Social?

Red mason bees are solitary bees, and like most solitary bee species, each nest is started by one lone-working female bee.

Are They Still Bees if They Don't Make Honey?

Yes! There are 250 types of solitary bees in the UK that don't produce honey on a large scale like honey bees.

What Do They Do for Us?

A bee hotel on a red brick wall with tubes closed

A Red Mason bee using a bee hotel

Solitary bees are crucial to our ecosystems. They pass pollen between flowers; without them, animals like birds, mice and other mammals couldn't survive. They are fantastic at making your garden of flowers and vegetables look amazing! They are even more effective than honey bees at pollinating our flowers, trees, and crops.

Beyond feeding everyone through their pollinating efforts, red mason bees also provide an inside look into our natural world. They are non-aggressive like other solitary bees, as they have no honey to protect. This lets scientists and us get up close to view their hard work and better understand the health of our environment by mapping their behaviour. (Who wouldn't want to see our furry-like saviours hopping about?!)

Now it's time for some top facts to get you buzzing...

Fun Facts

  • Despite being orange, red mason bees get their name from hiding in brickwork to build their nests.
  • In addition to being found all over the UK and Wales, red mason bees have been found to travel up as far as Scotland and even Ireland!
  • The female red mason bees' curved horns on their heads are a feature that is not seen in any other British bee species.
  • Many bees pick up pollen from flower to flower on their legs. But female red mason bees have 'pollen brushes' under their abdomen. When fully stocked with pollen, these bees look even more bright and orange than usual!

What Can We Do for Them?

When learning about bees, we can be eager to find out what they do for us instead of how we can help them. Funnily enough, if we look after our bees, they can continue to look after us!

Some of the best ways of looking after our red mason bees are to create spaces for them in our gardens with bee hotels. You don't have to buy one of our ready-made ones, as you can also get the whole family involved and find out how to create your own bee hotel.

To go the extra mile for our red mason bees, remember to place/dampen the mud near your bee hotel to help them build their nests. Do this in early Spring, and you can watch them carry it back and forth.

Thank you for being an active part of our bee-saving community.

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