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Daily Archives: April 29, 2012

When I have large numbers of cocoons, I often use trays.  There are about 2000 cocoons on this tray. One tray is turned over to act as a lid.  Trays are offset by 1/4″ so that emerged bees can exit.  Duct tape or strong rubber bands are used to keep trays in position.
Using 1×1 sticks and set between a couple of highrises, a structure is created to hold trays at the upper level of the yurt, but not under the center hole of the roof.



Base tray holds about 2000 cocoons



Two trays are held in place with duct tape.

Two trays offset to create a 1/4″ gap.



I chatted with a new mason beekeeper today who was confused about directions on a flyer, the web and various other sources.  He had bought some mason bee cocoons from a store and the flyer instructed him not to set the package of cocoons out in the sun.  Then further down, directions were to set the house with the nesting tunnels in the sun.  How confusing!

When bees are still in their cocoons and cannot move about, do not set box of cocoons in direct sun.  The heat of the sun could cook them while they are still in their cocoons.  The best place for cocoons are within the shelter of a mason bee home under the roof- away from direct sun- but nice an warm.

The house for mason bees should go into a sunny spot.  Bees like to be warm when working and young offspring need the heat to move, eat and develop into adults.

An organic apple orchard is a great place for mason bees.  No worry about pesticide applications.
When we arrived, we noticed that dandelions were out, but apple blossoms were still closed.  The perfect time to set up the bees so they can emerge and gt ready for pollinating the fruit trees.  It was a very cold rainy day when we set this up a couple of weeks ago.  Brrrrr!!
We arrived at the orchard with the top of the yurt and the base-hexagon pieced together.  Both hexagons were marked out to indicate where  the vertical uprights had to placed and screwed to make the frame.  
This is important, since the spacing of the uprights maximizes the number of Highrises that can be placed at one level.  Nine Highrises can be set at each level.  There is enough height in the yurt for 4 levels.  We started with 3 uprights balancing the base and the roof, and added the remaining uprights soon after.
We then dug some dirt to cover the base of the tarp.  This prevents wind from getting into the yurt and creating a draft.
We finished the yurt by stapling the tarp around the yurt.
Tim has just finished using 4 screws to hold each upright in place,
2 at the top and two at the base.   I attached the tarp with staples
to the upper and lower hexagon and then covered the tarp at the base with dirt.

Completed Yurt.  You can see that the wind is pushing
 the tarp against the uprights.

We left the hole we created so that bees could easily get mud for making
their nest partitions.

Here on the west coast of British Columbia, my favourite flower came out in abundance.  It is a wonderful plant that provides both pollen and nectar to bees when there is little else for them to forage on early spring.  One day, this beautiful plant will be encouraged in lawn and gardens!
Dandelion flowers
In this field, many dandelions provide an abundance of food for bees
in early spring before apple blossoms appear (apple orchard in background).

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