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These photos are bringing back some great memories of my time on the ‘farm’ with mason bees. 

We tested various types of nests, and to duplicate these, I bought 50 small office garbage cans. 

A set up used in a mason bee trial
in blueberry field.

I set each one on  top of a fence posts. 

Unfortunately, bears could not resist going after the small amount of  pollen inside the nesting tunnels.  Several of the containers were smashed to pieces. 




Mason bee trial in a blueberry field.  Bears smashed quite a few of the containers with mason bee nests.  In the distance two other containers are visible sitting on top of a post.

  After this, I realized that bears were one of the challenges for keeping mason bees in these fields.  I knew that bears go after honey bee hives, and yes, beekeepers kept their hives surrounded by electric fences.  But I did not think that bears would go after mason bee nests.  I guess early spring bears are hungry and anything goes. 

In photos of previous posts, you can see the electric fence surrounding the nests.  It is easier to have many nests surrounded by one electric fence,  than having numerous locations each with an electric fence.   



Large mason bee nesting area surrounded by
an electric fence.



But concentrating mason bees in one area begs the question about the distance that mason bees fly.  This of course will determine the distance between mason bee houses/set-ups.  Another factor for consideration is flower density.  Distances flown will depend on flower density.  The question I find most intriguing is whether the female to male ratio changes depending on the number of cocoons set out at any one location.  If you set out say 1000 cocoons will these produce more females then when you set up 20,000 cocoons?  A good PhD project for someone.

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