My name is Dr Margriet Dogterom and am the founder and owner of Beediverse. I write this blog for all who love bees and who want to learn more about these wonderful creatures.
Hi Margriet – last year I had almost all of my 20 tubes compromised and broken into by some critter/bird, etc.
I did not have any wire mesh on my two houses. This year I installed mesh on my houses and had 15 tubes mudded by the Mason Bee(s). Another two were mudded up by a Mason bee Wasp which I observed. After a few weeks, the Mason Bee Wasp tubes had Holes in the opening. The Mason Bee tubes were OK all summer. Recently, I went up to Princeton for a week and prior to going up, the tubes were doing just fine (Sept. 22). However, upon returning, several of the tubes had been compromised. In spite of the mesh being in place, I am perturbed as to why this is happening. My brother-in-law who lives in Maple Ridge who I gave several cocoons to, says his tubes are all fine to date. Can you shed any light as to why this might be happening. I was waiting till into October to harvest the cocoons and quite disappointed at this event. Thank you Andy.
PS a note from Andy in the fall. I did have ¼ inch mesh once, but saw that the bees were having trouble getting through – with all kinds of antics, falling once through the mesh, and then having trouble getting to the tubes which were about 3 inches away. The mesh surrounded the top, sides and bottom. I did switch to ½ inch mesh which made it much easier for the bees to land on the mesh then fly to their respective tubes. I did consider mice, and did put some warfarin bait for them, but the bait was not touched, and there was no tell-tale signs of any droppings.
Hello Andy, After spring and nesting is over, developing mason bees are a great source of food for all kinds of critters. After spring, wire mesh works for rodents but does not prevent scavengers such as tiny beetles from entering and eating tube contents (wire mesh during flight interferes with the mason bees nesting and decreases occupancy of nests).
After spring flight is completely over: Store nest in weather proof area like under a roof or in an open carport. Rotate bee home so that nesting tunnels are facing towards the wall. Set nests inside a wasp proof bag to stop wasp parasitism. Dr. Margriet
Hi Margriet – thanks for responding. After harvesting the rest of my tubes and also the tubes of my brother-in-law – my question to you now is: what do we do with 80 plus cocoons? How do we place the cocoons and in what type of container so they can hatch properly during the Spring? I don’t think it’s a good idea to pile them on top of one another in a small container, so it would take quite a large container for 80 odd cocoons. Let me know what you might suggest. Thanks again, Andy
Hello Andy, Thank for your questions.
Cocoon storage after harvest: For outside storage, store cocoons in a container that is rodent proof. A wooden box is a suitable container. Cocoons piled in 2-3 layers is ok and does not seem to harm the bees. Set out in early spring, before bloom and create 1/4″ exit hole. For smaller number of cocoons the hatching hut is the perfect rodent proof box for storing and emerging mason bees. Dr. Margriet
Pollination. The word brings to mind the droning buzz of fat yellow and black bumblebees bouncing from blossom to blossom in flower-decked meadows. But up close and in person, pollination is often anything but idyllic. The physical forces involved in pollination can be impressive, and both plants and insects must be well adapted to withstand them.
“EYA’s pollinator outreach aims to teach people about native bees and become stewards in their own communities.
We have been working on initiatives for the past 7 years and are leaders in conservation programs and projects across Vancouver.
Each year we raise mason bee cocoons at our Insect Hotel, a large eco-converted telephone booth located at Oak Meadows Park. We share the cocoons and give away mason bee houses with the community.
We host about 10 workshops each year at schools and community centers in the spring when mason bees are hatching and then in the fall when their cocoons are brought in to be cleaned. Youth love this opportunity to connect with nature in their own backyards, and become stewards themselves with a new mason bee house to look after! We have photo permission to use this photo for our organization, so feel free to post! “
I added this fun picture because these ‘tubes look so much like nesting tubes’. Instead they are yummie cookie straws. You can see the chocolate stripe around each cooky.
I was quite startled when I was waiting for my car to get an oil change and the owner went around just before Xmas with his jar of cookie straws. After I picked one out of the jar, I thought “goodness they look like nesting tubes”. I quickly took a photo before he vanished with the cookies. We had quite a few people answer it correctly. Thanks for participating.