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.
Resin bees nest in cavities using resin pitch from trees to close their nesting tunnels. When opening nests in the fall and you see small pupae between walls of resin, close up the nests and bees will emerge the following spring. If nests are empty proceed as noted by Kat B.
“Dear Dr. Dogterom,
Thank you for your response!
After some trial and error, I found the best way to clean the resin was with boiling hot water. I submerged the trays in the water and let them sit briefly to allow the resin to soften. I then scraped each channel clean using a small screw driver wrapped in cotton gauze. The material picked up the sticky mess and I adjusted the wrapping as I went so that I did not simply redistribute the mess. A very light residue remained, but was no longer tacky after cooling. Overall this process was very effective and fairly efficient – I had quite a few trays with resin, but was able to quickly clean them. I found it best to work with two trays at a time. Sincerely, Kat B. 🐝
I began searching for research articles from universities today. I was a little overwhelmed with the number and scope of great articles out there. The following articles will be in separate blog articles and links will be provided. I am excited to pass these on to people who might be interested in such diverse topics mostly related to bees. There is one about starting bumble bee nests. I was involved with rearing bumble bees in 1990’s and what fun it is….and about 10% of the time a queen caught in the wild in early spring will start a colony that can then be placed outside to grow her colony and pollinate plants around the garden. This is an exciting adventure for anyone interested and it will help the number of bumble bees out there and reproducing. Other articles are about identifying bee species and still others are articles about how to grow bee friendly gardens. All are an interesting read. Other articles deal with mason bees. Mason bees are of interest to gardeners and with the capabilities of producing mason bees in larger numbers, they will be able to be used for crop pollination. We will be learning in leaps and bounds about mason bees over the next 5-10 years. Already systems are being designed to harvest and clean cocoons by the 10’s of thousands. The cleaning of a large number of nests is another big issue that needs to be resolved before great expansion is possible with crop pollination. Do pass these articles on to others and spread the word about what is happening with bees. Dr Margriet
The British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture has offered a free introductory WEBINAR course for beekeepers for a number of years now. Participants can be located anywhere – in the past they have been from the US, the Yukon, Ontario and as far east as Newfoundland as well as BC.
The purpose of offering the course for free is to address the serious problem of many novice beekeepers failing in the first few years. Many colonies go through a protracted period of decline, often in company of diseases and pests which are then subsequently spread to other beekeepers nearby. The original intent of the course was to offer educational opportunities to beekeepers who live in isolated locations in the province without ready access to such services. The fact that many participants are outside BC is not important. The “virtual classroom” has no enrollment limit so anyone interested in taking the course can do so.
• 4 sessions on Saturday mornings from 0900-1130 (Pacific Time). No practicum or field day.
• Especially suitable for people living outside the Fraser Valley.
• Unlimited class size. Reasonably up-to-date computer and access to high-speed internet recommended.
• No materials provided but prior to each session, participants receive an email with suggested reading and reference materials.
• Planned starting date: February 11, 2017
• Course is FREE.
Visit http://www.gov.bc.ca/apiculture for further details. Posted in the World of bees by Fran Bach
The Food For Bees initiative promotes the planting of bee forage on public and private lands, to support wild pollinator populations.
Bees and other pollinating insects are important for the pollination of plants and food crops that produce fruits, seeds and forage for animal feed. They also play a key role in maintaining a healthy environment.
Studies have shown that an abundance and diversity of nectar and pollen bearing plants enhance pollinator populations. This in turn, supports greater biodiversity and a healthier sustainable environment. It is expected that after a few years of implementation, many areas will show increases in pollinator abundance and species diversity.
Some plants are highly attractive to bees because they offer pollen and nectar which bees need to reproduce, support their brood and survive the winter. These types of plants are commonly called “bee forage”. When selecting bee forage for bees, choose plants suitable for the climate, soil and water conditions. Also consider the physical environment of the planting location and its attractiveness in the landscape design.
Noted from the world of Bees publication by Fran Bach.
Hello Margriet, I received this interesting and unique gift last spring- “Bees in a box”. I put the box out once the weather got warm with bee cocoons in the small cardboard box inside. I opened the cardboard box, closed the wooden box and placed it in a warm spot, 5′ above the ground with the hole facing east.
At first it looked like nothing happened and none of the cocoons seemed to “wake up”. However, about six weeks later, a friend noticed a bee going into the hole. As time past I noticed that it looked like there was cotton plugging up the main in and out hole.
Has one bee blocked the hole with it’s cocoon?
When should I open the box to try to take out the cocoons, put them back in the cardboard box and put that cardboard box in the fridge?
Thank you for you help,
Hello Heather, It does take the leafcutter bees about 4-6 weeks of hot weather to develop into adults and start their nesting. and yes, it sounds like another type of insect has plugged up the hole- perhaps a carder bee. Open box in the fall, push wooden dowel thru nesting holes and push out cocoons. Store them loose in this box outside and the cycle will start again in the summer. Dr Margriet
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