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Monthly Notes

A question from Anne in the Kootenays (BC).

Starter cottage with nesting tubes

 I was given your starting kit as a gift, and I am not clear if the cocoons 
are to be removed from the nesting tubes for cleaning & where they should 
be stored for a west Kootenay winter. “

Mason Bee cocoons in a Humidity Cooler

 

Bee cocoons inside a nesting tube

Yes, it is always best to remove cocoons for cleaning.  Unfurl  or soak cardboard tubes.  After an overnight soak in cold water the EZY-HARVEST cardboard tubes are easy to open for removing cocoons.
Store cocoons in fridge  until late winter/early spring.  Best to use a humidity chamber.  This keeps cocoons moist at a humidity of  about 60%.  Later in the winter or after January, keep temperature between 2-4C.

Check out our website where there are more details on the humidity cooler.

Dr.Margriet Dogterom

1.  With snow falling all around us, it is a good time to clean any nesting trays which have benn 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.

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.



 Hello,
 It July 8/12. Is it too early to put a cloth bag over  mason bee boxes to keep out predators?
We are in Comox, Vancouver Island. – Margaret 
Hi Margaret,
Yes it is time, BUT some bees may still be flying! 
I just visited 2 sites today and in both yurt field structures, bees were still flying in and out of their nests. 
Tomorrow, I will go back to these two sites, and remove all the release shelters- to avoid additional parasitic wasps that might still need to emerge.
I will also bring a battery powered bug killer- like a small tennis racket with an electric battery driven electric zapper.  This should get rid of most of the active parasitic wasps.  In another 2 weeks, I will check again, and all, if not most mason bees will have quit by then.  At this time I will place a net bag around each nest to prevent parasitization by the little wasps.
It is quite amazing to see these critters still flying into mid July.-Margriet

 This is my yurt field structure in Bellingham WA.  It is fully laden with highrises and a lot of the tunnel are filled by mason bees.  Today we removed all the release shelters.  Quite a few bees were flying in and out of the nests…more in a subsequent blog.

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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