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Daily Archives: July 8, 2012



Bumble bee male ( yellowish head) on red clover.
Photo credit-Ian Lane- with permission

 Clover is probably the most abundant and best producer of nectar available to bees within the city and into the suburbs.  Of course blackberry is another great flower for bees since it also produces lots of nectar.

Bumble bees on summer flowers

Summer flowers

Bumble bee- Bombus vosnechenskii

Summer flowers

What is so neat about these bees flying into July is that they are flying and nesting in a nectar and pollen rich time period.  As a beekeeper we know that spring is a time when nectar and pollen is abundant for nesting.  This period is followed June, which is usually a dearth period.  In June, food in the form of pollen and nectar is scarce.  Early spring flowers have finished blooming and summer flowers are still developing.  Therefore, June is normally a very difficult period for mason bees to survive and not starve since they do not store honey( unlike the honey bees).  Thus, surviving through to July is quite the miracle!  the surviving mason bees  are now again in a bountiful period, when blackberry, fireweed and other summer flowers produce lots of pollen and nectar.

 Hello,
 It July 8/12. Is it too early to put a cloth bag over  mason bee boxes to keep out predators?
We are in Comox, Vancouver Island. – Margaret 
Hi Margaret,
Yes it is time, BUT some bees may still be flying! 
I just visited 2 sites today and in both yurt field structures, bees were still flying in and out of their nests. 
Tomorrow, I will go back to these two sites, and remove all the release shelters- to avoid additional parasitic wasps that might still need to emerge.
I will also bring a battery powered bug killer- like a small tennis racket with an electric battery driven electric zapper.  This should get rid of most of the active parasitic wasps.  In another 2 weeks, I will check again, and all, if not most mason bees will have quit by then.  At this time I will place a net bag around each nest to prevent parasitization by the little wasps.
It is quite amazing to see these critters still flying into mid July.-Margriet

 This is my yurt field structure in Bellingham WA.  It is fully laden with highrises and a lot of the tunnel are filled by mason bees.  Today we removed all the release shelters.  Quite a few bees were flying in and out of the nests…more in a subsequent blog.

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