Since having our first insect house with its bamboo insect nesting homes my love of bees has increased like an explosion in space. During the early years, I wondered why some of the holes appeared to be blocked with mud whilst others were packed with leaves. Since that time I have found that the mud-packed entrances were made by a Mason bee. A slightly smaller bee although similar in shape to the Leaf-cutter bee. The Mason bee lay their eggs and fill their chambers in late May and throughout June. So when the Leaf-cutter bees arrive in late June and early July there are only a few stragglers of Mason’s remaining. These however do compete for bamboo holes and sometimes bomb each other. One bee will fly on top and try to push the bee underneath downwards sometimes quite violently.
The Leaf-cutter bees will try and pull out the mud from unfinished Mason bee homes and the Mason bees will try to remove any leaves to holes that they have initially cleaned out. Eventually one bee will give in and the victor will continue to make their nest along that particular length of bamboo.
Leaf-cutter and Mason bees sharing the Insect House and using the bamboo chambers to lay their eggs