search the Beediverse Blog




In the early 1990′s at the beginning of my research on mason bees,  I read numerous papers on mason bees.  Many of them were authored by Phil Torchio and published in the1970′s.  What I could not work out immediately, at the time, was why after all this research, were mason bees not available by the billions for pollination crops and home gardens.  There must be something I am missing.  In about 4 years I had over 20,000 cocoons and set them out in blueberry fields.

Since there are is no protection from the weather in blueberry fields, these open sided boxes were set out with about 20,000 mason bees.  Each structure contains about 600 nesting tunnels in highrises or stacks of 72 nesting holes.  The nests are oriented in slightly different directions to assist the returning bees finding their homes.  The coloured plastic was placed in the ground and used as protection against the rain and also used as orientation cues.  The wooden structures were set up on totes to get above the splash zone.




Bees will forage and pollinate any flower that has food for them.  Plants that produce lots of nectar and pollen are preferred over others.  This is a cabbage flower.


If my increase in mason bees over four years is a normal increase in numbers, I should have bees by the billions.  I don’t.

We know that if parasitism and predation gets away from you, numbers of cocoons produced can drop dramatically.

But there are other factors.

Food availability is a non- brainer.  But it is difficult to assess if the quantity and quality is out there for our mason bees.  Seeing flowers is one thing, but knowing the quality of the pollen is another.  We usually assume lots of flowers means lots of food.

All these factors are important, but nothing works if the weather does not cooperate.

So making a structure that keeps the bees warm and out of the rain and wind, makes a lot of sense.  It is not only important to keep the nest warm for the adults, but for the developing young as well.

The open wooden structures (as in picture above) were unwieldy and protection from the weather was minimal altough sufficient if the weather was sunny!

The Gazebo for mason bees was born.  More next time.

One Response to In the early 1990′s…

  • Last summer we had outstanding bee increase and filled box after box for friends to start their own. We noticed that after the fruit tree bloom and then the grape and garden flowers that bee activity just disappeared, meaning a few filled holes hatched out but only one or two more holes were filled. My theory is that the food sources dried up. Since we read that you can't move the boxes before November, if you don't have a diverse food source locally, reproduction will be limited.

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. [...]

What Mason bees are these?

What Mason bees are these?

December 10th, 2013

Hi,  I put out a box of 7mm tubes next to my normal 8mm  tubes for the Orchard Mason Bees or O[...]

No thumbnail available

December- what to do

December 10th, 2013

1.  With snow falling all around us, it is a good time to clean any nesting trays which have benn em[...]

Parasitic wasp of mason bee cocoons

Parasitic wasp of mason bee cocoons

December 10th, 2013

Margriet, Can you verify that this picture is a Parasitic Wasp (or not)? Thanks. Valeri W[...]

A mason bee tree!  None like this one!

A mason bee tree! None like this one!

January 23rd, 2014

Here is a bee tree that is different!  Surrey municipality (BC) is promoting mason bees and how impo[...]

Dates of posting blog entries
August 2014
M T W T F S S
« Jan    
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031