This blog includes: management tips on how to keep mason bees, stories and pictures from other mason bee keepers, trends in the industry, research news, interesting links, review of products, events and other interesting items.

I have been a biologist since I was a kid. Then I became a "bee biologist". From bees in my garden to studying them at Simon Fraser University, I still find bees fascinating. Pollination with bees also became a focus when I studied pollination of blueberries. My journey with bees continued into the business world. In 1999 I started my company Beediverse Products and developed a line of products to keep mason bees. I first developed a successful method for harvesting mason bee cocoons and then I developed a line of products including: book,DVD, poster,mason bee homes and tools.

Now, my main interest and enthusiasm is focused on figuring out how to best manage mason bees and produce them by the billions. For this reason we are continually testing new ideas, widgets and gadgets for making the job of keeping mason bees easier and more successful.

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

 

 

  

 

 

 

   When bee finds a nesting tunnel in wood, plastic or some other material, the female bee will place mud inside the cavity to create the perfectly shaped cavity for her offspring. 

 

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.

Tiny parasitic wasp of mason bees

Margriet,

Can you verify that this picture is a Parasitic Wasp (or not)?

Thanks.
Valeri Wade
Wild Bird Chalet
705 Kentucky Street
Bellingham, WA 98225
360-734-0969
 

 

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.

 

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