What to look for: Thick ginger hair with a tuft of white hair on their faces
Favourite plants: Flowering trees and shrubs
Making a nest: Natural holes or bee hotels
When active: Early spring to summer
Where seen: England and Wales
Red mason bee
Red mason bees are solitary bees covered in thick ginger fur with a tuft of white hair on their faces. They are commonly found in gardens across England and Wales and are perfectly safe to have around children and pets.
Females nest in existing natural holes, making bee hotels the perfect substitute. Holes that are bathed in sun and south-facing are more highly prized. Once a nest is chosen, the female will isolate their larvae in individual compartments within the hole. The larvae then hatch in autumn before hibernating over winter.
Red mason bees are excellent pollinators and can be a great addition to your garden. They have a special soft spot spring flowering shrubs and trees, making them a welcome sight in orchards, rapeseed fields and areas rich with apple, pear and plum trees; raspberry and strawberry bushes, and other flowers.