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.

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Here are my bee pictures, from August 2016, north of Dawson City, Yukon………with lots of views because I don’t know what characteristic one uses to identify bees (for beetles, it’s usually antennae and wing covers).-
Leslie C.img_2066c

img_2069c img_2070cThank you for emailing these lovely photos.  Puts a bit of colour on these pages while we are in the middle of lots of snow.  It is lovely to see bees on the under appreciated dandelion.  Dandelions are a very important food source for bees.  Dr. Margriet

Dr. Margriet:
Thanks for the great info today at the Courtenay Art Knapp mason bee workshop on how to properly raise and care for the mason bees.  I had mentioned that we were having trouble with fruit trees that were not producing fruit.  We automatically pointed fingers to the bees or lack of them.  I left one rather important set of facts out. Actually thought of it after the course.  In an attempt to try and understand the whole picture of what was going on, I purchased a soil testing kit and found that we were very depleted in Nitrogen and that the soil was slightly acidic. So I’m wondering if bees have less of an affinity for fruit trees that may be not as healthy or vibrant as they should be. With nature always favoring survival of the fittest could this have been a factor? In other words would they choose healthier plants/ trees over less healthier ones?  Again thanks for your time this morning, Gail & Howard P., Courtenay,B.C.

This is a real good questions and I don’t have a definite answer.  Here  is what I do know.  I do know that bees will search out flowers with an abundance of nectar and pollen.  This means that trees with flowers that produce high sugar content in the nectar are more likely to attract pollinators than the trees with low sugar production.  This is a fact.   I know as well that certain tree varieties will produce better quality nectar than others.  For example, if two trees that are located side by side produce their flowers at the same time, but one has higher sugar nectar, it is the one with the most sugar that will attract more bees and produce a larger fruit crop.   I do not know if adding fertilizer will change this fact.   My advise is to try it.  Thanks for the great question.  Dr. Margriet

Mason Bee cocoon humidity cooler

Mason Bee cocoon humidity cooler. Pads for water one one side and a place for the cocoons on the other side of the divide.

Besides simply setting cocoons outside in a predator proof box of some kind, cocoons can also be stored in the fridge.  Cocoons can be kept dormant until just before bloom.  It ensures that bees emerge when flowers are in bloom.  This method is most easily done in a humidity cooler.  The double compartment is for water on one side and cleaned cocoons on the other side.  Fridge temperature is set for 2-4C .  Water creates humidity ensuring that cocoons dont dry out and kill the bee inside the cocoon.

b0f9cd19-0bc2-4b94-abf8-95808dab0ef9Harmen K. from the Netherlands writes:  This configuration appears to be the most economical to make the ”hotels”. It is made of one six feet long 1×6 and 4feet of 1/4 inch threaded rod. The four end pieces are cut from a piece of firewood. The little box is what the cocoons are kept in in a refrigerator and go six into a larger box. The cocoons have survived quite well this way.

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