Monthly Archives: June 2012

Stephen D. writes- I’m on a steep learning curve, what with 3 types of bees. I created havoc with my mason bees, having to move the nests several times. A few bees managed to find a home, many more took off. I believe you wrote about this, so I was prepared.  Nests are now in place permanently.  Thanks for the great service you provide.
My question, is there a plant or plants that flowers at this time, that are favored by bees? I have Japonica, heather and Siberian Bugloss. They are now out of bloom, as are wild blue bells. Please suggest some options. I would opt for perennial with low growing habit.
Also, do I put my leaf cutter cocoons out after a period of 20 degree C weather? Is there a recommended period?
Thanks.

Hi Stephen,  Great to hear you are having so much fun with all these
critters!!
Right now in my garden poppies are seeing lots of bee activity
blueberries rhodos.
I am not a plant person, but I have got a lot of bee attractive plants on
my blog.  Once you get there, there is a search window.  Type the word  You will get a variety of blogs about plants.
http://www.beediverse.blogspot.com/
Another great source is to go to a garden center when it is sunny and let
the local bees tell you which plants are bee attractive plants.
Let me know if you find some good ones

Set leafcutter bee cocoons out in June as temperatures increase into the 20C range
Margriet

Thanks. I went to the nursery today and looked for the bees. I came home
with a butterfly bush.
Thanks again.  Stephen D.


Hi
‘Original’
I’ve had a problem with bees released returning to my nest tubes. Attached are two photos of my boxes. I released about 20 in the setup named “original” and only one bee nested there. I’m going to try the setup named “latest” and was wondering if you think either or both should work? Thanks Norman Z



‘Latest’



Hi Norman,  These are beautifuly constructed homes for mason bees.  Both should work.  At some locations there are lots of nesting places for mason bees such as cedar shingles and often mason bees use these over the ones we set up.  The only way that I know to get them to use your nests is over a year or two, increase the number of mason bees that are produced.  I noticed that the ‘Latest’ home is set on a post.  This works fine, but in cool springs, this location would be a lot colder than a site like on a wall and be a lot less attractive than the home on a warm East facing wall.   All these facts make an impact on successful nesting of mason bees.  Sometimes it is difficult to figure out why the population is not building up and it could be as simple as a few bird predators.  Try different locations and homes and slowly build up their numbers.-Margriet



Hi Margriet…

I was fascinated with all the great reports and photos on latest blog…
thanks…and thanks to all those who share their experiences with these
little critters…However I didn’t see the photo of   “red color on cell
surface”…<this story is on the next page>..I was delighted with the bumble bee story as I did enjoy daily
visits from bumbles to my plants on the little balcony and the hover fly
hunting for aphids …learning about and watching the  Mason Bees has
encouraged me to sit quietly and was able to witness  other wonders more
carefully…including the weather…I have 3 nests filled and was awed when
the few bee I had were able to survive several cool wet days…this fall
will be my first experience harvesting and cleaning cocoons and I have a
milk carton with reeds to attached to the window frame hoping to encourage
bees hatching from my bedroom window weep hole next year (as they have done
for the past 4 years) to use reed nests.

Have a great summer

Diane

Hi, Bee Diverse,

I work at an ecological non profit in Vancouver at which we keep mason bees.  I just finished watching your DVD, All About Mason Bees, and I wanted to thank you for making such a fantastic informative video.  The infra red footage was really spectacular.  As the video began, I thought to myself – “But what is it like IN the cell?  How does the bee pack the pollen and the mud?  What does it look like?”  And then, voila!  That footage was amazing!
Thanks so much,
Kristjanne V
 
Close up of pollen lumps with their bee larvae. 
You can see the mud chambers at the top of the picture, still attched to the shelf -cover,
 including another pollen lump with another larvae.

Shelves with a cover where mason bees
had made their nests.

Hey Margriet:

I thought you would get a kick out of these pictures, Mom noticed a lump of something under the cover on the shelves on the back porch. When she lifted the cover up low and behold they had layed eggs under the cover that had a bulge in it. Too bad they were destroyed but at least there are good pictures of an egg developing on a ball of pollen. Feel free to use these pics if you want to. As far as my stock for this season I am keeping my fingers crossed that I will have enough to sell this coming year.

Cheers Dave 

Hi Margriet,

I took the images of the Quicklock trays in the Highrise that have popped open.
As you can see there are a few empty holes now that previously had been full. It must be the chickadee as you suggested.

Do you think it is too risky for me to try to tape it tight again? I dont want to squish them but they are completely exposed now.

Your bee-loving friend, Eve

Hi Eve, I would not try and tape the nesting trays at this stage.  When they are done flying turn the trays so they are facing inwards- then the chickadees can’t get at the larvae.
Margriet

Quicklock Trays in a HIghrise showing tape has loosened
around nesting trays.

Brilliant!

That’s why you have a Phd  and I don’t. :-)