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My friend from Duncan sent me photos of all her different nest types.  No matter what kind of nests you design or use, most nests are used by bees.  They will prefer some over others, but if there are lots of bees, and nesting space is limited, mason bees will use any type of nesting cavity.  But the type of nest takes on a different meaning when considering that keeping mason bees and keeping them pest free is of a very high priority. The ease of getting into the nest, harvesting and cleaning cocoons become a very high priority because it determines in part the success of mason bees.



Cleaning station in the kitchen.



These are hexagon shaped nestign tunnels made of clear plastic. 
There is no doubt that mason bees use it, but cleaning nests and
harvesting cocoons is not possible with this nest type.  In most locations
if nests are not kept clean, parasites and mites build up in
 such numbers that the bee population collapses in 3-4 years.
This structure holds the clear plastic hexagons, paper
tubes and reeds.  Paper tubes can be opened and cocoons can be harvested.
Reeds can also be opened with relative ease.  Take care
when choosing reed type because some types of bamboo are near to impossible to open.
This is the Beediverse Highrise with tubes on the side. 
The Highrise Quicklock nesting trays can be opened and
cleaned.  After cleaning these nesting trays can be re-assembled
 for the following spring.
A great spot for mason bee  homes-a warm
south facing wall under an overhang.
Success!  Cleaned and harvested cocoons

Over the holidays, we have been busy assembling our new Mason Bee Home Kit.  It is a nifty product and will be a very popular item for children in schools and in the home.  Besides the pieces that make up the home, there is enough paper in the kit for making 20 nesting tubes.  This will get the child started.  If they decide to make more nesting tubes, newspaper or Kraft paper can be used to make more nesting tubes.  It will be fun to see how children will decorate their mason bee homes.  Please send in your photos of completed homes that are decorated and ready for the garden.   I am looking forward to seeing the art. 

Click on the link below to see the Kit.  Scroll to the last item in the Category

view the kit

I am continuously on the lookout for items that might be of interest to mason bee enthusiasts. 

We have just added  a Mason Bee Home kit to our line of Beediverse products.
The neat thing is that it assembles without nails or glue!  It includes instructions on how to roll your own paper nesting tubes.  This is an awesome product.  Another big advantage to this home is that it ships flat.  Savings in shipping is significant.

Kit- Mason Bee Home

This is the perfect item for people who like to put things together.  A great school project!

Once assembled, the Bee home can be set out on an east facing wall, in a sunny location and under an overhang.  It houses 40 mason bees and is ready to pollinate your fruit trees.

The kit includes pre-cut wooden bee box, mounting nails, sand paper, pre-cut Kraft paper for 40 bee tubes, dowel for rolling bee tubes, and tape for taping bee tubes.

This home is big enough to fit a Quicklock nesting tray with 30 holes and with room to spare for additional nesting tubes or a release shelter.
Instructions include how to assemble the bee home and how to roll your own bee nesting tubes.

Six inch diameter petri dishes are very handy to have when keeping mason bees, especially when storing cocoons.  Winter storage of cocoons containing live bees can be problematic since you need humidity and air.  Petri dishes allow both air and humidity to pass under the lid and over the lip and into and out of the pretri dish.  Tiny strips keep the lid off the base and thus allowing air to pass.  All this means that living things can be stored in petri dishes.  Another good feature of a petri dish is that organisms can crawl around inside the petri dish, be safe and not escape.
About 100-200 mason bee cocoons can be stored in each petridish.  Petri dish are stackable and can occupy very little space. 
Here are a few ways to use  6″ petridishes:
1.  Store cleaned cocoons inside a refrigerator that is a manual de-frost fridge)
2.  Each petri dish can be labelled according to location and other information.
3.  Store suspect cocoons-I call these DUDS!
When candling, cocoons that do not contain a bee can be set aside and left refrigerated until spring.  In spring, the petri dish is left on the counter.  If any bees emerge they can be released.
4.  Store unknown organisms until emergence
5.  Petri dishes are stackable and occupy very little space.
Stack of petri dishes with cocoons inside a manual defrost fridge.
A thermometer is an important tool to make sure the temperature
is right for keeping cocoons under hibernating conditions. 
In late Jan temperature is lowered to between 2-4C or 35-39F

Always keep a container of water inside the fridge. 
This is an easy way to make sure that humidity is above 60%.

Label each petri dish.

In a manual defrost fridge, there is a freezer compartment
that will require defrosting each year.

In spring, the occasional male will emerge even
though temperatures are low.

For spring emergence, cocoons can be placed into Starter
cottages or Emergence Cottages.  These can be temporarily
stored in the fridge, until weather conditions are reasonable.

Store cocoons inside Petri dishes that may contain parasitic wasps. 
Place on kitchen counter in spring.  If any bees emerge
 they can be released.  Parasitic wasps can be destroyed by freezing .

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