search the Beediverse Blog


Monthly Archives: February 2012

My friend from Duncan sent me photos of all her different nest types.  No matter what kind of nests you design or use, most nests are used by bees.  They will prefer some over others, but if there are lots of bees, and nesting space is limited, mason bees will use any type of nesting cavity.  But the type of nest takes on a different meaning when considering that keeping mason bees and keeping them pest free is of a very high priority. The ease of getting into the nest, harvesting and cleaning cocoons become a very high priority because it determines in part the success of mason bees.



Cleaning station in the kitchen.



These are hexagon shaped nestign tunnels made of clear plastic. 
There is no doubt that mason bees use it, but cleaning nests and
harvesting cocoons is not possible with this nest type.  In most locations
if nests are not kept clean, parasites and mites build up in
 such numbers that the bee population collapses in 3-4 years.
This structure holds the clear plastic hexagons, paper
tubes and reeds.  Paper tubes can be opened and cocoons can be harvested.
Reeds can also be opened with relative ease.  Take care
when choosing reed type because some types of bamboo are near to impossible to open.
This is the Beediverse Highrise with tubes on the side. 
The Highrise Quicklock nesting trays can be opened and
cleaned.  After cleaning these nesting trays can be re-assembled
 for the following spring.
A great spot for mason bee  homes-a warm
south facing wall under an overhang.
Success!  Cleaned and harvested cocoons
Here are John’s photos of his very economical set up for mason bees.  It protects bees from chilling spring winds, and provides extra warmth to mason bee nests.  The full length tarp that goes to the ground keeps the wind out.  To keep all the wind out from entering the base of the structure, cover bottom of  tarp with mulch or some soil.

Advantages over the Beediverse Yurt is that with John’s field shelter you don’t have to deal with fitting a tarp over a hexagon roof with a hole it it.  It is not easy.  The field shelter’s roof is simply a piece of plywood.  John’s mason bee field shelter is very economical. 
Both the yurt and John’s field shelter release excess heat.  The yurt has an 8″ diameter hole in the center of the roof which lets out excess heat, but keeps it nice an cozy for the bees.  The gap between the tarp and roof releases excess heat from John’s shelter.  Shortly, I will be placing the yurt onto our web site for gardeners who would like to try the Beediverse yurt.

Here is John’s list of Materials  and instructions:
   1-9×12 tarp – blue
   6 – lath strips or equivalent
   1-42x72x1/2 or better plywood for back side
   1-42x48x3/8 plywood, primed one side for roof
   4-2×2 or 2×3 x96 posts- for vertical support
   4 or 6 ell brackets for shelf support
  
   Drive posts into earth at 42 inch intervals, attach back plate on north side, then roof with overhang. Provide bracing with lath at 45 degree angle for wind. Keep front posts 6 inches higher than back to run rain.
   Wrap with tarp leaving 6 inch opening at the front[south]. Use 1 1/2 in. screws at grommet holes for ease of attachment and removal. Attach ell brackets for shelf support as required.
   Now your bees will much warmer and so much busier.

  

John starts off with setting 4 sturdy posts into the ground. 
Then secures a 1/4 ” sheet of slightly slanting plywood onto the 4 posts. 
Between 2 posts, he attaches – with screws a 1/2 sheet of plywood. 
He attaches shelving to the plywood and the two posts. 
Nests are set onto shelves.
Here is a closer look at the shelving. 
On the right hand side are routered wooden nests. 
On the left are boxes with angled 1″ wide slats with
Quicklock trays inside the box.
Blue shelter complete. 
Once nests are in place with bees are set out in emerging boxes,
tarp is wrapped around all 4 sides- leaving a gap of at least 8″
between roof (1/4 sheet of plywood) and the top of the tarp. 
Note wood slats are stapled over tarp  and onto posts to keep them place.

  

This is the second version with a  cross piece
that helps stabilize the structure.


 


  
Roeland Segers from Holland contacted me the other day about nesting alternatives.  We continued our conversation about Osmia rufa, an European Mason bee.  I asked if he would like to share some of his photos with the blog and its readers.  I was most delighted to receive the following photos.  If you’d like to contact him direct, go to his web site.  The website is in Dutch with some gorgeous photos.  He writes
“  My company has recently been rebranded to: De Bijen, Bestuivingstechniek (translating to: The Bees, Pollination techniques) from Nijmegen in the Netherlands. My websites: for masonbees http://www.metselbijen.nl/ (for honeybees http://www.rendementdoorbijen.nl/ )”

Roeland’s mason bee web site


Mason bee se-up while pollinating cherries.
Mason bee nests are made of routered channels cut out of compost board.
Boards are held together with a tie-strap.  



Osmia rufa doing the finishing touches to her nest.



Osmia rufa male.  Note the long antennae.



Females resting over night inside their nesting tunnels.
Embrace (Osmia rufa)
Fierce competition

I also chatted with John from Delta.  He has been doing mason bees for quite a few years now and he is a true experimenter.  Every year he comes up with ideas that he tries out.  On my visit this time, he told me that for the first time last year he was able to beat the wind.  He has a very cold wind coming off the sea in the early spring.  He had seen the various yurt design and found them too complex. I saw his design, and I think it is a good one.  It is simple and anyone can set it up.  Last year it worked well.  It works similarly like a yurt, but you do not have a hole in the hexagonal roof.  More on this subject when John sends me his pictures and a story.
Aan update- we could not figure out what to call this structure at first.  A Mason Bee Field Shelter describes it nicely.

If any one has  story to share, send me pictures and a story about bees and pollination-  Thanks.  I think a lot of people will enjoy reading it.  On average, 70 pages are read on this blog every day.  Quite amazing.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Popular Posts

Super walls- a closeup

Super walls- a closeup

December 10th, 2013

   When bee finds a nesting tunnel in wood, plastic or some other material, the female bee will plac[...]

No thumbnail available

December- what to do

December 10th, 2013

1.  With snow falling all around us, it is a good time to clean any nesting trays which have benn em[...]

A mason bee tree!  None like this one!

A mason bee tree! None like this one!

January 23rd, 2014

Here is a bee tree that is different!  Surrey municipality (BC) is promoting mason bees and how impo[...]

Winter cocoon storage in the Kootenays

Winter cocoon storage in the Kootenays

December 28th, 2013

A question from Anne in the Kootenays (BC). " I was given your starting kit as a gift, and I [...]

Parasitic wasp of mason bee cocoons

Parasitic wasp of mason bee cocoons

December 10th, 2013

Margriet, Can you verify that this picture is a Parasitic Wasp (or not)? Thanks. Valeri W[...]