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1. With snow falling all around us, it is a good time to clean any nesting trays which have been emptied of cocoons earlier in the fall/ Sept-October.
2. For me, today was a good day to clean out some Cocoon shelters. They are usually covered in bee feces.
2. If cocoons are stored inside a fridge, make sure your fridge has at least a 2- cup container of water on one of the shelves.
Hi, I put out a box of 7mm tubes next to my normal 8mm tubes for the Orchard Mason Bees or Osmia lignaria. The mason bees are doing very well filling their tubes. Attached is a picture of the 7mm tubes, they have 5-7 bees working in them. Most are horned Face (Osmia cornifrons) but a couple look like the regular Osmia lignaria but are much smaller as can be seen in the picture. My question is are they just small Osmia lignaria that prefer the smaller tubes or is there another species that I don’t know about? From what I can tell they look like the Osmia lignaria but are about the size of a Horned Faced. Thanks Norm
Hello Norm, Thank you for this fine photograph. I see two bees quite clearly, and the third is a bit too blurry to see what it is. I do not have any experience with the horned Face mason bee, but it has brownish coloration as the lower bee (see link below). The black one is Osmia lignaria. Both are early spring pollinators, and so both would be about in early spring. The size of female mason bees or Osmia lignaria varies quite a bit. I do not know if this is genetic variation or the end result of varying levels of nutrition. It is unlikely that there is a third species of a smaller size in early spring. However, many more smaller black mason bees are around that come out late spring through to late fall. at what time of year was this picture taken? Dr Margriet Dogterom
This photo shows two nesting tunnels (half of two nesting tunnels) containing two cocoons inside their mud cavities.
When nesting trays are not completely snapped togethr, a gap is present and lets air into the nesting tunnel. Consequently the mason bees muds over the gap forming a super – wall.
From summer to early winter place mason bee homes inside a net bag. This will prevent your mason bees from being parasitized while they are inside their cocoons over the winter.
Hi Valerie, Thanks for sharing this photo with us and our friends. Yes this tiny little wasp is a parasitic wasp of mason bees (and other insects). You can see from the size of the cocoon in the background how tiny this critter really is! At the moment that this picture was taken, this wasp was listening for bee movement inside the cocoon ( it hears with its antennae). Only live bees are parasitized!! Great picture Valerie.