Beginners bees & wasps: Osmia bicornis - red mason-bee

Osmia bicornis (=O. rufa) - red mason-bee

An aerial nesting bee, that often nests in holes in walls and timber. Common and widespread in England and Wales, and also across the lowlands of central Scotland. Flies from late March to late May

Key features: Female

Two "horns" on the face - unique to this species in Britain.

Bright orange haired appearance with dark hairs on the clypeus ("face").

Pollen scopa on ventral side (underneath) of abdomen.


Males have white hair on the face, no pollen scopa and longer antenna.


Similar species

Andrena fulva is similarly coloured, but has a strongly contrasting black and red look, and nests in the ground.


More information on Osmia bicornis

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Photo: Female carrying mud to nest. Jeremy Early.