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Daily Archives: April 3, 2011

The farmer asked us if we could place additional mason bees into his orchard besides the ones going into  Charlie’s yurt located at the front of the orchard.  We chose a spot in the middle of his orchard, away from Charlie’s yurt.  The orchard is located in the Fraser valley, BC.

  • Our very first job in the orchard was to dig a hole for a post.  Here is Tim digging a hole with a post-hole digger.  The yurt will be tied to this post, so it does not topple over in a strong wind.

  •  All parts of the yurt were hauled to the site in a wheelbarrow.  The wheelbarrow contains uprights and tarp that goes around the yurt.  On the ground you can see the roof hexagon and the ground hexagon.  The white roof tarp is on top of both hexagons.

We assembled the roof by inserting 6 metal rods into the hexagon and the roof center piece. The six metal rods keep the roof tarp at a nice slope to keep the rain from pooling on the tarp.  The roof-tarp is then stapled onto the center piece, and then onto the roof-hexagon.

  • The ground-hexagon was set down in place adjacent to the post.

  •  Using screws and a drill, 3 uprights were attached to the ground-hexagon.  A drill and a bag of screws are in the foreground.

  • The fully assembled roof was screwed into position at the top of the three uprights.

  • The yurt was completed by attaching remaining uprights and stapling the tarp surrounds under the roof tarp.  Finally a rope was used to tie down yurt to the post.
Now that this yurt is in place, the next thing is to hang Highrises in place, and set out mason bee cocoons.

In a small orchard in Langley, Apple blossoms are swollen but not in bloom quite yet.  I took this picture in the last week of March.

Although early spring flowers are not abundant, there are many hidden patches of flowers amongst buildings and in gardens. These flowers are important food sources for early bumble bees.

Last week I was lucky enough to get a  few sightings of bumble bees.  All sightings have been in amongst Pieris blossoms. Their flight and movements were fast.

Beautiful cherry blossoms in Blaine WA.   31 March 2011
Same cherry blossoms.  Note the Pieris bush behind
 the tree on the right.  Some of the Pieris blossoms
 are visible on the right hand side of the photo.
Blossoming Pieris above a pond in a Japanese garden.
Vancouver BC 30 March 2011
Heather patch in a Japanese garden
Vancouver BC, 30 March 2011

This week I have been busy setting up yurts to house my mason bee cocoons. This is critical in areas where spring weather may be cool and wet. The inside of a yurt environment provides mason bees with warmer temperatures than outside temperatures. These warmer temperatures are more suitable for developing bees and growing bees successfully. For this reason, yurts or similar type structures are the way of the future for mason bees.

Our newest yurt, model D27 or D27Yurt is compact (3ft in diameter) sturdy, can hold 27 highrises and is easy to assemble. Each yurt can be put together in 2-3 hours with a screwdriver, drill and a pair of pliers. Three D27Yurts will be set out in different locations to test their effectiveness.

I am excited to have all cocoons set into yurts this year. I will be setting up a total of 5 yurts. Each yurt has the capacity of holding 648 nesting tunnels at each of 3 levels. a capacity of 1944 nesting holes.  At each of 3 levels, there is space for 9 Highrises (72 nesting tunnels per Highrise). Of course temperatures will be higher at the top levels compared to the lower levels, but more about differing temperatures inside the yurt in later blogs. Two yurts in use were designed and made by Charlie F. The remaining yurts will be the new D27Yurt.

This is Charlie’s yurt.  The tarp is 3 years old and is still in good shape.  We checked for holes in the tarp and found a few where the wood rubs the tarp.  We taped some duct tape over the few holes we found.  It is ready for hanging Highrises and setting out cocoons.

I have even set up a D27Yurt on the deck of my home. Previously I had 3 boxes (2 x 2 x1.5ft) attached onto the wall of my home. In each box I used to set out an assortment of nesting trays and houses. This site is less attractive now because my peach tree shades that part of the house. The deck receives more direct sun than any other part of my garden- so it should be a good site for my bees. Yesterday, the Highrises were hung into a D27Yurt at the home site. The sun came out for a brief period and temperatures rose to 80F inside the yurt! It is nearly time to set out the cocoons. The Peach tree is beginning to fill out their buds.

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