Monthly Archives: June 2011

We had a wonderful visit to Rome.  Always on the look-out for Bee pollinated flowers, I managed to see an olive tree in full bloom.  Olive trees have a grey foliage with tiny cream coloured flowers. 
Olive tree flowers in full bloom- end of May.

The huge and awesome Colosseum of Rome.

The local roads of the ancient Roman town of Pompei with Mt Vesuvius in the background.
One of the beautiful mosaics of Pompei.  
A delicate 5 coloured mosaic in the ancient coastal port of Rome,  Ostia Antica.
Most mosaics that we saw were black and white.
Flower Market in Utrecht, Holland
Campanula- a bee attractive plant.
These two varieties of bee attractive Sage
Salvia, a bee attractive plant
Buying flowers at the market

Here a  few pictures of bee attractive flowers at a flower market in Utrecht, Holland.  I only took pictures of flowers that had bumble bees foraging amongst the flowers.  This is a great way to buy flowers that are bee attractive and flowers that will feed bees in your garden.

The screen dangles from a screw at this nest.

Joe S.  from Burnaby, has come up with a very simple way of protecting his nests AFTER bees have stopped flying or when the nest is full ( Note:  Mason Bees tend to avoid nests with screens).

The screen is not fixed into place but dangles and moves with the wind, making it very awkward for woodpeckers to land at the nest.

Paperclips are used here to give the screen
the proper positioning over the nesting holes.

Over the past several weeks, during my travels, I kept my eyes open for ‘Bee attractive’ plant’s.  I watched out for bees on flowers knowing that these plants provide the bee with pollen or nectar or both.  Keep in mind that a ‘bee attractive plant may not always appear attractive to bees.    For instance, when more attractive (provide more food) flowers are present, bees go to the rich source of food, and not the poor source of food.  Visitation strongly depends on if other attractive flowers are present in the area.  If you don’t see any bees on a variety of flowers, it might mean temperatures are too cold, or that there are no bees in the vicinity.

It is time to remove mason bee cocoon hulls at the end of spring.  
Earlier in the spring, Mason Bees chewed their
 way out of their cocoons, leaving the cocoon hulls.
The timing of this somewhat depends on the weather off course.  I can’t believe it is 9 June and a few mason bees are still flying!  
Remove Release house and examine
cocoon hulls inside.

When only a few mason bees remain active at the nest it is time to remove cocoon hulls.  Nest tunnels have been filled over the past month or so, and pretty well all activity is at or near its end.  Cocoon hulls may contain developing parasitic wasps and wasps can destroy a lot of newly developing cocoons.

  
Empty cocoon remains from the emergence
box to a transparent container, like a petridish.
Take cocoon release houses down, and remove all cocoons in  a transparent container, such as a large petri dish.  Make sure that cocoons are one layer thick.  Leave at room temperature.  If any additional bees emerge, release them.  If no bees emerge over the next 3 to 4 days, it is unlikely that there are any unemerged- live bees inside the cocoon.

Check for total emergence.  See what percentage of cocoons emerged successfully.  If success is greater than 95% you have done well.  If it is less, then carefully open closed cocoons to see what is inside. 
Cocoon contents might be parasitic wasps or pollen lumps where the bee larvae has died during development.  Other finds might be parasitc fungi- black pupal cases.  Do the examining over a piece of newspaper, so it can be discarded.