Bees nest made of flower petals

Asked September 17, 2017, 8:19 AM EDT

I found this nest/nests made of flower petals in an open end of conduit, (unfortunately it had to be removed in order to seal the conduit), it looks a lot like the work of a type of mason bee found in Turkey and Iran. I live in Portland, Oregon. Im wondering if this is a species native to this region? I would also like to give the eggs a chance at survival, any suggestions? They are currently in a piece of replacement conduit placed near some trees.

Multnomah County Oregon bees

2 Responses

Thank you for your question about these bees. Good eyesight! They are called Osmia avosetta, and are, indeed, widely distributed in Turkey and Iran. Here's a link to a National Geographic article about them.

The species is commonly called "mason bees." Our Oregon native (Osmia lignaria) called a "blue mason bee, in the same genus. You can read about them in this Oregon Department of Agriculture publication on page 15. As the article suggests, they are solitary and prefer to live in crevices, cracks and stems. I can find no source that identifies that the O. avosetta has been detected in the Pacific Northwest, but I'm going to call your article to the attention of Dr. Gail Langellotto-Rhodaback, OSU professor, to see if she has any information to the contrary. I'll get back to you with her response!

I'm informed there are lots of bees that do this, and, ran across an Extension article on a different type of bee, the leafcutter (Megachile spp.) which doesn't eat the leaf, but uses it to construct its nest. Here's the link. We have leafcutters in Oregon, and here's an OSU Extension article on them (although I can find no reference to the use of petals in their nest building.) Hope this further information is helpful!