search the Beediverse Blog


This old cedar shake cottage, which was probably a livable house at one time, is the perfect place to hang a few nests for mason bees. There are lots of reasons why this might be a great place to produce mason bees.  The house itself, provides a place out of the rain with its overhanging roof, the cedar shakes on the sides of the building probably have mason bees amongst the shakes already, it is a warm location, protected from winds by some huge trees, and it is in the sun.  



Cedar shake cottage – and ideal location for mason bees




Not only is it a warm location in direct sunlight, but the warmth of the shed wall would stay warm long after the sun had gone down.  This is important in keeping bee larvae active and feeding.
In addition,the owner, has lots of fruit trees and blueberry bushes adjacent to the house providing abundant food sources for the bees.  And, most importantly, no pesticides are used on the property.
 
You can imagine my surprise when I produced fewer cocoons in the first season than the number of cocoons I set out.  The 3rd and 4th years were no different.  The fifth year the bee population exploded.
A collection of mason bee nests on the south facing side of
a cedar shake cottage.  Odd shapes, colours and layout of nests
helps the bee in finding its own nesting tunnel.

I initially thought some freaky weather pattern made the area cooler and not very attractive to bees.  But the 5th year’s explosive growth  countered that argument.  If production continues to be good, than food and other weather related conditions must be ok for mason bees. 

My theory now is that during the first few years, there were so many available nesting holes in amongst the cedar shakes and the density of bees so low, only a few nested in the mason bee houses that I had set out.  As the years passed, the cedar shake nesting holes filled up and mason bees began to use the mason bee houses in earnest.

If this is true, then natural nesting holes will be used first since these are more attractive then most man-made nests.  After a few years mason bees will start using mason bee houses. 

Note:  All man-made nests and cocoons were cleaned every fall.  Wooden structures were cleaned and scrubbed.  Cocoons were washed free of mites, and later candled to identify and destroy any parasitized  cocoons.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Popular Posts

Today- Beediverse blog read by 65 people.

Today- Beediverse blog read by 65 people.

January 4th, 2014

Whow, today was a busy day on this blog.  Usually we have about 30-35 readers of this blog per day. [...]

Stop parasitic wasps by using a net bag

Stop parasitic wasps by using a net bag

December 10th, 2013

From summer to early winter place mason bee homes inside a net bag.  This will prevent your mason be[...]

Nesting with abundance- Frank

Nesting with abundance- Frank

January 23rd, 2014

"Hi Margriet .. I'm a little late in sending you my usual "annual report" on the cocoon harvesting b[...]

Winter cocoon storage in the Kootenays

Winter cocoon storage in the Kootenays

December 28th, 2013

A question from Anne in the Kootenays (BC). " I was given your starting kit as a gift, and I [...]

Optimize your cocoon production by candling

Optimize your cocoon production by candling

December 11th, 2013

Here is something else to do besides cleaning and preparing for spring.   A nifty conversion of a 6v[...]

Dates of posting blog entries
September 2014
M T W T F S S
« Jan    
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
2930