Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Black bee?



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I am located in the Vancouver area of British Columbia, Canada. I have found these bees? frequently coming in and out of a hole in the side of a muddy hill in one spot. This picture was from yesterday, April 20 mid-day.  Unfortunately I will need to dig out this area as we are landscaping and re-grading.  This is a generally moist area. Thank you for your time.


Thank you for including the wonderful images with your question.

These are actually female mason bees, maybe the "Blue Orchard Mason Bee," Osmia lignaria .  They are solitary (each female makes her own nest), and they are gathering mud to make mud partitions in a nest tunnel in wood, or some other pre-existing cavity.  They also seal a completed nest with a mud plug.

In the second image you can see the bee flying away with a ball of mud in her jaws.

Here is more about the species that I think you have there:


They will likely find another place to gather mud from.  At the very least you are not destroying nests.  Thank you, though, for your concern for our native pollinators. :-)



Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Eric R. Eaton


I answer insect and spider identification questions ONLY. Attach images if possible. No "what bit me?", "what do I feed this bug in captivity?", or science fair project questions please. NO TECHNICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT INSECT PHYSIOLOGY.


Principal author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. Professional entomologist employed previously at University of Massachusetts, Chase Studio, Inc., and Cincinnati Zoo; contract work for West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Smithsonian Institution, and Portland (Oregon) State University.

Author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Missouri Conservationist magazine, Ranger Rick, Birds & Blooms, Timeline (journal of the Ohio Historical Society). I have contributed to several books as well.

Oregon State University, undergraduate major in entomology, did not receive degree.

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One of the top 50 experts in all categories for AllExperts.com, 2009.

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Principal author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Smithsonian Institution (contract), Cincinnati Zoo (employer), Portland State University (contract), Chase Studio, Inc (employer), Arkansas Museum of Discovery (guest speaker). Currently seeking speaking engagements, leadership roles at nature festivals, workshops, and ecotours.

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