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Daily Archives: January 28, 2011

Note escape hole of box in foreground and the escape hole in the adjacent box.  Mason bee cocoons cover the base of the box waiting for warm spring temperatures. As the temperature increases, bees chew their way out of their cocoon and then travel towards the light of  the exit hole.  Note empty cocoons.  Dave uses a hinged lid for closing the box.

Female wasps overwintering in an escape box (emergence box).  If left inside box, wasps would eat bees as bees emerge from their cocoons.

Hi Margriet: Look what I had waiting for me when I went to clean out the escape boxes from last year.
Dave M.Port Alberni, BC Canada

Two feet long tunnel filled up to the 19 inch mark!
A long nesting tunnel  for a mason bee

 Hi Margriet, Well they have gone and done it again. You know that 8ft long escape box (emergence box or shelter), well I was cleaning it up for this season and noticed one of the escape runners looked plugged so I decided to take it apart to clean it. This is what I found. What do you think?  Dave  M. from Port Alberni, Vancouver Island, British Columbia.
I have not seen this before, but I am not surprised.  As in your photos (see recent blogs), mason bees will nest in any type of ‘cavity’ (umbrella for example)!  Thank you for sending the photos.  Margriet

Peter B. from Ankara, Turkey emailed me the following question:

“Your fascinating website was sent to me by Chris K. I have looked at it plus several others.  I am a beginner, but would like to try raising some mason bees as a hobby.

I am from Vancouver, but living most of the last 10 years in Ankara, Turkey.  I would like to try manufacturing a house for mason bees here in Ankara.  A few quick questions for you:
1. Ankara is a big city (5,000,000) and at almost 1000 m elevation.  We are some distance away from the downtown, there are some large city parks near us, but we are still in the city.  Do you think there are any mason bees that we could attract here in Ankara?
2. I understand that the species is different for the mason bees here.  For the house, is 8 mm diameter OK, or do they require a larger or small diameter hole?  Is there anything else that would be much different from the North American mason bees in terms of housing or rearing requirements?
Thanks in advance,   Regards,  Peter B.”



Yes, the species found in Turkey are different to the ones found on the North American continent, although their lifecycles would be similar to the ones found in NA.  If the early spring mason bee exist in Turkey, it would be Osmia cornuta.  The 7.5 mm or 8mm would be a good hole diameter to use for your nests.

If you are interested in seeing what solitary bee species exist in the area, make 2 or 3 different nest diameters.  Local gardens with flowering plants would provide bees with pollen and nectar for themselves and their offspring.  The nesting hole diameter I would recommend are: 3mm 5mm and 7.5mm.  This gives you a good range of nesting tunnel sizes.   Make nests by routering flat pieces of wood.  These pieces are stacked and allow nests to be opened up in the fall.  This makes it all the more interesting than just seeing the plug at the end of the nesting tunnel.  Good luck, and let us know what you find.

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