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Monthly Archives: September 2012

Sent:Saturday, September 29, 2012 1:34 PM

Subject: Ground bees
Dear Margriet
We have a bee problem in our garden in Aston Tirrold in the UK
I found your details on the web.  See this video.  Any idea how we can manage this?
Please do feel free to use the video!   Justin K.
Hello Justin,
Thank you for your inquiry- from the UK!
Whow- I have never seen something like this.  What a wonderful sight.  If you are a bee person like myself, I would be delighted to have these in my garden because bees are a pretty precious commodity.
 I would make a special patch for the bees, by surrounding this area with a border of rocks and plants.  They obviously like the soil and the drainage of your garden. 
 
I assume you don’t want to destroy them, but control them in some way.  Nature is pretty good at controlling populations.  I would expect that growth of this bee has occurred over the past few years and that a drop in the population  is inevitable in the next few years.
 
If you do decide to arrange a border around this population, and it begins to extend beyond the border, you could water down the area to slow them down a bit.  But of course this would depend on the depth of their nests.
 
I think it is a great clip.  Hope this helps and keep us posted on what you decide to do.-  Margriet
reply from Justin
Thank you!
Will let you know how it goes

Paper wasp nest in a tree

A closeup look at a very large paper wasp nest.

This wasp nest likely belongs to a very large colony of bald faced hornets. They are good predators for a garden.  Caution though, if these critters are disturbed, they can leave a nasty sting. Photo by Giovanni J.

This headlines is somewhat misleading to me.

Poor weather can easily be blamed for a failed apple crop, but ultimately it is the lack of pollinators that result in a failed crop.  It can be argued that it is really the weather that is the cause of a failed crop because even with many pollinators present, rain will deter these bees from coming out of their nests and pollinating.   Yes this is correct, but in times of poor weather there are always a few short periods of sunny weather- and yes these may be very short!  But even if these sunny breaks are very short, IF you have bees close by, it is amazing what bees can do in 10 mins- or 20 or 40 mins.    This is why there is all the more reason to have pollinators close by fruit trees that you want to get pollinated.-Margriet

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/sep/16/apple-growers-worst-yield-15-years

Thank you to Harry Burton for emailing this link

Beediverse photo file

 

It is time to clean out nests  and harvest your cocoons:)

Floating mass of newly harvested mason bee cocoons in water.

I have mason bees at a number of sites, and decided that today was a good day to harvest cocoons from one of these sites.

The first step in cleaning cocoons is harvesting them out of nesting tunnels.  The easiest way to do this is with a scoop.  Once harvested,  cocoons and other debris are added to a bucket of tap water. The reason for placing cocoons into water is to dislodge and loosen mud plugs from cocoons, remove some of the mites and separate other debris from healthy cocoons.  The overall objective is to clean cocoons of any debris (mud and feces) and pests (mites) and to clean cocoons well enough so these can be candled.  Candling allows you to remove any parasitic wasps.

I scooped out cocoons , placed them in water -and saw a photo op!  A lot can be learned from examining cocoons  and other debris.

Yelow bee feces on surface of cocoon

Numerous mites on surface of cocoon

Dead bee pupae amongst cocoons

The upper picture is a surface view of cocoons floating on water.  Mason bee  feces (yellow), mites, cocoons and bee pupae can all be seen in this  picture.  I cropped small areas of the same picture to make it easier to point to these features.

An additional photo was taken of a pollen lump after it was removed from the water.   Pollen lumps are pollen collected to feed individual bee offspring.  If this tiny bee larvae dies, it leaves the remains of the pollen lump.  In cold damp springs, more pollen lumps can be seen because during cold weather, young bee larvae are more likely to die

Pollen lump (below tip of scoop) amongst cocoons

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