The bloodwood trees (Corymbia ficifolia) in our area have been flowering for the last month or more. Their nectar and pollen attract a wide array of birds and insects, including this Masked Bee (possibly Hylaeus nubilosus), with her distinctive yellow markings.
Then she moved to an adjacent blossom.
Next she flew to another ficifolia, with more orange-coloured blossoms. Although this bract already had a honey bee (Apis mellifera) and a stingless bee (Tetragonula carbonaria) on it, there was still plenty of room for another pollinator. I left her to it.
A little while later, at the “bee hotel” in our garden, a masked bee (possibly the same insect) began checking out some of the stems towards the bottom of the stack.
She eventually settled on this one at the bottom, second from right, and began building a nest.
Next day her nest-building was well advanced, as you can see below (her chosen stem is the recessed one at lower right, partially blocked with nesting materials). I’m not sure of the sequence of events, but she has probably already laid her egg next to a store of pollen at the back of the nest. Here, she is sitting on the next-door stem, chewing off some bamboo as further nesting material.
This is a close-up as she finalises nest construction before sealing the nest.
Soon she’s able to seal the nest and head off back to gather more pollen. You can just see her sealed nest tube, which I’ve marked with an arrow. All seems to have gone well.
Masked bees are members of the Colletidae family of solitary bees. They range between 4mm and 11 mm in length, and typically have rather elongated bodies, usually black with yellow or cream markings on their “faces” and sometimes on their thoraxes. Below is another species of masked bee – note the yellow on the abdomen, and the yellow rather than cream markings on its face.
North Sydney – my home suburb – holds Sydney’s second largest CBD. However its parks and bushland areas, and those of neighbouring councils such as Willoughby, host a surprising variety of native flora and fauna. These bush areas are maintained by dedicated council staff, often working with local resident volunteers.