Honey Bee living like a Mason Bee?

Asked April 28, 2020, 7:15 PM EDT

I have had blue orchard Mason bees for several years. This year a new bee arrived and hung out around the nest for a couple days observing the other bees. It now has started filling a tube with seemingly only dirt. It looks like a honey bee to me, which is really weird behavior for a honey bee. Is this a different type of Mason bee? Would it be sterile and that is why it is only filling the tube with mud?

Lane County Oregon

1 Response

Hi, I agree with you that honey bees would not be plugging holes with mud; hence it is not a honey bee. There are many native bees that look similar to honey bees. Bee identification from a photo is very difficult since many identifying features can only be seen with a microscope. I suggest that you continue to watch developments to see what happens. The following publication from the Oregon Department of Agriculture will help in your identification efforts: “Common Bee Pollinators of Oregon Crops”. I think you will find this helpful as well as very interesting.

Since it sounds like you are interested and observant of mason bees, you might like another website for all things related to bees is the Oregon Bee Project; a cooperative project between Oregon State, Oregon Department of Agriculture, and the Oregon Department of Forestry centered on pollinator protection.

Enjoy watching developments.