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Daily Archives: December 24, 2010

Here are another couple of stacked large box-like structures to protect mason bee houses during the pollination season,



Stacked box Sysem for pollinating field crops



The small boxes with holes at the front are ‘emergence boxes” for releasing bees  (contain 100-200 mason bee cocoons).  In this setup, there are 8 on the left hand side of the upper shelf and 3 on the upper shelf on the right hand side. I ran out of emergence boxes, and had to use an old bird nest (upper LHS).   

One problem with this structure is that it catches the wind and it makes it more difficult for bees to fly in and out of the nest. The wind also makes it colder around the nests.

These stacked boxes were set on top of  blue bins since we ran out of wooden pallets.
Note the electric fence used to prevent bear damage.  For increased stability, 3 posts were hammered into the ground and nailed to the boxes.  
Looking back to these structures, the yurt is a dream to use.  In the next few blogs, I will be writing about our yurt designed by Charley Ford.  The uprights are no problem , but the roof design is  a bit tricky.

Before we used corn nesting trays inside yurts, we used wooden nesting trays in wooden structures (picture below).  Here, we are dealing with thousands of cocoons.  How to release them is a good question.

With alfalfa leaf cutter bees, cocoons are set out in open trays (see previous blog), bees emerge and then fly to nearby nests.  I have tried this method, but gusts of winds or something upsets the trays and all cocoons end up on the ground.

The system I normally use for setting out cocoons is to place them into small wooden shelters as seen in this photograph.  On the upper shelf in this picture there are 3 shelters on the left hand side and 3 shelters on the right hand side.  Each shelter contains between 100- 250 cocoons.  The little door on the front of each shelter has a hole from which mason bees emerge.  I find this shelter system the most secure way of releasing cocoons, no matter how many cocoons I have.



Open structure for mason bee houses.

Nesting trays are usually set up in Highrises (see www.beediverse.com).  Highrises hold about 10-12 nesting trays.  We do not normally use the cedar roof on the Highrise in this system.  I find the Highrise the best system for setting out trays.  It easily fits a variety of trays and protects the nesting trays from the weather.



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