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Monthly Notes

1.  With snow falling all around us, it is a good time to clean any nesting trays which have been emptied of cocoons earlier in the fall/ Sept-October.

2.  For me, today was a good day to clean out some Cocoon shelters.  They are usually covered in bee feces.

2.  If cocoons are stored inside a fridge, make sure  your fridge has at least a 2- cup container of water on one of the shelves.

I have been busy harvesting all my cocoons, cleaning cocoons and nests, doing mason bee workshops and getting ready for the busy December and spring seasons.

November is the beginning of the real winter season, and unless you have already dealt with your mason bees, this is a good time to open your mason bee nesting tunnels, harvest mason bee cocoons and clean the nest.

Of course there are a lot of details that are missing from this list, but the above list is an overview.

Winter is hibernation time

Over the life of this blog I have included many posts on various topics.  Look up the following posts in the SEARCH window (at the top of this blog).  The blog search engine will search for all articles that have that specific  word in the title of the text.  Try:

inside the nest

cleaning nests

cleaning  cocoons

washing

candeling

It is time to clean out nests  and harvest your cocoons:)

Floating mass of newly harvested mason bee cocoons in water.

I have mason bees at a number of sites, and decided that today was a good day to harvest cocoons from one of these sites.

The first step in cleaning cocoons is harvesting them out of nesting tunnels.  The easiest way to do this is with a scoop.  Once harvested,  cocoons and other debris are added to a bucket of tap water. The reason for placing cocoons into water is to dislodge and loosen mud plugs from cocoons, remove some of the mites and separate other debris from healthy cocoons.  The overall objective is to clean cocoons of any debris (mud and feces) and pests (mites) and to clean cocoons well enough so these can be candled.  Candling allows you to remove any parasitic wasps.

I scooped out cocoons , placed them in water -and saw a photo op!  A lot can be learned from examining cocoons  and other debris.

Yelow bee feces on surface of cocoon

Numerous mites on surface of cocoon

Dead bee pupae amongst cocoons

The upper picture is a surface view of cocoons floating on water.  Mason bee  feces (yellow), mites, cocoons and bee pupae can all be seen in this  picture.  I cropped small areas of the same picture to make it easier to point to these features.

An additional photo was taken of a pollen lump after it was removed from the water.   Pollen lumps are pollen collected to feed individual bee offspring.  If this tiny bee larvae dies, it leaves the remains of the pollen lump.  In cold damp springs, more pollen lumps can be seen because during cold weather, young bee larvae are more likely to die

Pollen lump (below tip of scoop) amongst cocoons

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This is the first blog at its new home location.

Last week, my blog Beediverse was moved from Google blogspot to this Beediverse web site. This move is exciting to me because it makes it more my own.  It also makes it easier for people to find us  and adding blogs is easier if it is all under the same roof.

Fly searching for nectar in Sedum spp.flowers

With summer holidays behind us, it is now time to add into this blog, a backlog of emails and ideas sent over the summer.

Interest is spreading into identification of other bee species and insects that are seen in the garden.  People are sending great photos of these insects and we hope we can identify them. The photo on the right is a photo of a fly on Sedum spp.

In this photo of a fly, note the absence of  antennae (bees have antennae and if you look closely at a bee, each antennae is made up of segments- less then 20).

One of the things that is on my to-do list is to categorize each of the old posts to make them more accessible.  For example, if you are interested in seeing my blogs of my travels, then you can look under ‘travels’.  The category ‘Old city of Dordrecht’ will be placed under ‘Travels.  The only thing is that I have not been able to figure out how to remove a category…yet.

Summer is well on the way now.  Summer mason bees are about, collecting pollen from various summer flowers like Oregano.  These bees are a lot smaller than spring mason bees, but are often the same blue-black colour.

In July, I took all my nests down from various sites and have placed them inside net bags and under cover.  I opened one of the nests, and cocoons are fully developed.

More recently I have been busy creating more video clips for a number of products, so that it is easy to see how the product works.  When they are on the web site, I will place the links on this blog.

In the meantime, a lot of mason bee keepers have emailed me some great photo-stories.  I will be posting these over the next couple of weeks.

 Have a great summer! Margriet



On the left is a photo of newly emerged  males.  On the right, note the paper wasp nest hanging on the inside of a Beediverse Royal house.  These wasps do not create a paper cover for their nests. This wasp nest never seems to get larger than about 50 individuals.  What a perfect place for a predatory wasp.  Food at their doorstep!  When you see them in your bee house- remove them.  Thank you for the photos Margaret.



It is the 3rd week of June and Osmia lignaria the early spring mason bees, and of course Osmia californica have stopped flying.  They have left their offspring behind, and hopefully few parasites and predators will get to the developing larvae by next spring.

I have received a lot of interesting emails with photos that I want to share with you.

People are sending more detailed notes of their observations – all very interesting.

I have had relatively good news from the majority of mason bee producers.  It seems there was enough reasonable good weather for good production along the west coast of NA.  Of course, raccoons, flickers and ants have taken their toll.  But overall, production will be adequate for replenishing their nests next year.

People are trying out different types of nests, bee attractants and different ways of setting out bees and protecting them from the weather.

I find this bee attractant very interesting although I have not heard whether it has been properly tested by scientists (as yet).

Here in BC rain and cool weather has been a large part of June.  I am curious whether, there has been enough warmth for bee larvae to feed and develop into adult bees.  In the fall when I open nests and examine the contents, I will be looking for the proportion of pollen lumps.  If the percent pollen lumps is greater than  5%, it usually indicates  cold  and damp weather.  Bee larvae have died of starvation because they were too cold to feed.

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