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Species detail

Osmia albiventris (Leaf cutter bee)

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Taxonomy

Bees in the genus Osmia, in the Family Megachilidae, are known as "mason bees" because some species use mud to build their nests. Some members even build free-standing nests. They overwinter as adults and are the first bees active as soon as the snow is mostly melted. Osmia albiventris is one of several smaller Osmia recorded in our state and was found only rarely in the Bee Atlas project with two nests recorded from St. Louis Co.

Description

Osmia albiventris look very similar to Osmia pumila at first glance. Closer inspection would show wider unpitted bands on the top of the abdomen as compared to O. pumila. Osmia albiventris females have light scopal hairs instead of light hairs.

Nest Structure

Nest are built and plugged with chewed vegetation material. Although one of two Bee Atlas nests had a partial mud plug recorded for its final plug, the other Bee Atlas nest was made with chewed vegetation with corresponds to information from 3 nests in Medler (1967). Bees and wasps are known to occasionally re-use nests of other species and this may be the case for the tunnel with the partial mud plug.

Hole Sizes

One of the two Bee Atlas nests was found in a 3/16" hole (lower column 3) and the other nest in a 1/4" hole (upper column 2). Medler (1967) found 3 nests, all in ~1/4" diameter tunnels.

Voltinism

Univoltine, meaning they complete one generation per year in Minnesota. Both males and females overwinter as adults inside their cocoons.

Activity Period

Early spring. Osmia are among the first bees of the year (frequently in May). Information from small number of Osmia albiventris nests in Medler (1967) suggest nests are completed in early-mid June. We have tentative nest completion date between July 20-30 for one Bee Atlas nest in St. Louis Co.

References

Medler, JT. 1967. Biology of Osmia trap nested in Wisconsin. Annals of the Entomological Society of America, 60(2): p338-244.

Minnesota Record Map

These data are from the Minnesota Bee Atlas project.

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