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Monthly Archives: April 2011

Cleaned cocoons stored in a petri dsih.
The best storage system that I have found for mason bee cocoons are petri dishes. They are 6″” in diameter and are transparent. In the fall, after cleaning cocoons, it is not always possible to set cocoons outside adjacent to the nest.  Many cocoons can easily be stored in petri dishes.
CANDLING-After washing and drying cocoons in the fall, about 150 cocoons are placed into each petri dish.  Cocoons are now ready for candling.  The lid is removed and candling is completed by rotating and tilting dish over light.  This movement allows the light to scatter in various ways and parasitic wasps are more likely to be seen and removed.

A petri dish lid protects bees,
and at the same time allows air movement
between inside and outside of the petri dish.

This is an early blooming apple variety.  Most other apple varieties are still in the tight-bud stage.  Note dandelion bloom in background.  When orchard bloom is behind, and food resources are scarce for bees, dandelion bloom provides bees with ample pollen and nectar.

Crab apple pollinizer in full bloom
Apple blossom at the pop-corn stage.
These apple blossoms will be out soon!

Hi!
Today (April 13th) I decided to send you a photo titled “First Blossom”. It is a photo of our apricot blossoms in the popcorn stage with one blossom opening.  This year has been a cooler spring so our apricot blossoms are 2 to 3 weeks later than previous years, which hopefully is a good thing.  For the past 2 years our blossoms opened early & froze from the spring frosts so we have had a smaller crop of apricots.  This year we wish for a mild spring, good pollination & a  bountiful harvest.

We have scheduled to attend 10 Ambleside Farmer’s markets starting on May 22 & 5 Kitsilano Farmer’s markets starting on June 26. ( Ambercott Acres sells a host of organic products:  apples,  garlic, a variety of dried  products (sun dried apricots, mixed dried fruit, dried apples, sun dried plums,  vegetable medley, sun dried tomatoes, mixed fruit rolls, cinnamon apple carrot crumble, herbal tea blend, autumn spice, bay leaves),  & a variety of jams (apricot,  ginger pear, crab apple jelly, mulberry) spiced crab apples, walnuts and apricot kernels.

Here’s wishing you well.
Smiles
Kaaaly

This is the 3-hole Beediverse Observation Nest.
Leafcutter bees are present in the left hand nesting tunnel.  The
remaining two nesting tunnels  are occupied by mason bees.
A thin film of acetate sits on top of the tunnel and below the lid.

“Spring is herei was walking around checking the honey beez and checked the masonic beez to see how they were doing.  i was wondering what i did with my small observation hive……couldn’t remember at first, then there it was, about eye level right in front of me.  Duuuuuu.  i had done nothing with it last year.  forgot about it entirely……” Cal M.

Matt B. writes.

“We’re seeing a curious phenomenon this year, and hope you can enlighten us.  As we’ve done previous years, we set our cocoons out in plastic tubs with little holes cut in to let the bees emerge.  This year the bees (or perhaps some other creatures we haven’t seen) seem to be leaving splats of mud on the outside of the release tubs, concentrated around the holes.  I’ve attached a photo of one of the tubs.  You can see they’ve dropped some mud on the plywood on their approach to the tub as well.  We’re seeing male bees flying, but haven’t seen any female bees or any activity around the nesting tunnels.  Have you seen this before?  Are the bees doing it?  Do you know why?”  

 These ‘splats’ of mud are the ‘post emergence fecal droppings’ or simply put ‘bee poop’.  It  is a good sign to tell us that bees have emerged.   Now that warmer spring temperatures have arrived on the West coast of North America female mason bees will soon be emerging, mating and pollinating.  Thanks for the photo and your questions!  Margriet

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