I’ve been keeping mason bees for four years now and earlier this month I came across something I have never seen/read/heard about before.
|Honey on base of tubes|
What really took my fancy were the beautiful raised flowerbeds at the entrance to the building. Very welcoming. The colours were stunning. On closer inspection, bumble bees liked this array of flowers too.
At the end of summer bumble bee colonies stop growing and the colony begins to produce queens and males. Queens mate with the males or drones and then hibernate over the winter until the following spring. It is important to have well fed drones so they can fly and mate with the queens. Flowers that provide nectar for bumble bees are a must. The flowers in these photos are great nectar producers as the presence of these bumble bees indicate.
Most of these bumble bees are males. Males usually have yellow heads.
|This bumble bee is Bombus vosnechenskii|
Grow flowers and they will come.
This beautiful and wonderfully scented rose is a mega-attractant to bees.
|This rose bush stands about 4 feet tall.|
|This rose is so attractive to bumble bees that at one
point there were 6 bees inside this one flower.
|More bees in this rose.|
|Two bumble bees ready for flight.|
|This is a large new queen that will be
hibernating over the winter.
|One guard, checks out the photographer. The splatter pattern
on the outside of the box is the feces of the bumble bee.
|To make the box more to their liking, the bees even
plugged up the large crack at the front of the box.
This is one of my favorite flowers! Dandelions are a welcome color in the spring and they are a great source of both nectar and pollen for bees and other insects.
|This honey bee (left hand side) and mason bee are too busy feeding on a dandelion flower to notice
the photographer Dave M. Port Alberni, BC.
Kathy- Langley, BC sent me these photos of a bumble bees nesting in a bird house last spring.
This is not an uncommon occurrance. Bumble bees will nest in the ground, in a wall, in a bird house or other structure that will keep the weather out. Bumble bees nest within insulation, grass or other similar materials.
Birds bring nesting materials like moss and grasses into their bird house and leave after their young have hatched.
“When you see them up close they have an incredible amount of pollen on their back legs. The opening into the bird house is 1 1/4″ so you can see how huge they are.”
Underneath the moss is a bumble bee colony. One bumble bee guard is walking on the surface of the colony.
|This is a guard- watching out for predators.|
|Bumble bee on the left is cooling the colony with its wings. The bumble bee on the right seems to be ready to go and gather more pollen and nectar for the young bees.|
|Coming in for landing.|
|Resting after a long flight.|
|Making room for a larger colony by removing excess moss material.|