• We can all benefit from planting beneficial flowers.

    This publication, just came across my desk this morning.  A 16 page booklet from SARE -USA Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education on about cover crops;.  It is a fascinating read.  It describes how you can plant pollinator friendly cover crops along and between fruit trees and other garden plants, that will enrich the soil.  Not only do insects benefit, but it benefits the soil and produces healthier plants.  Read how clover and other plants enrich the soil.  It also talks about when  removing a cover crop it should not be done while bees are feeding on these plants.  Again an awesome read.  Let us know how you are transforming your garden/farm into a more friendly garden for beneficials.  I am going to start with planting clover in my lawn.  I am sure the bees will love this in the summer.

    Read more for download

  • Fall workshops and what we have discovered so far.

    Workshops are a fun activity for beginners and others who want to share their experiences.

    • Explaining the lifecycle of the mason bee using the Beediverse viewing home.

    Here are  a few pictures of the candling process and the things we saw when candling.  Candling is the final stage of harvesting and cleaning of mason bee cocoons.  First comes harvesting using a SCOOP;  placing  cocoons into a bucket of water comes next;  then washing cocoons under running water using a metal SIEVE  (the scouring of the sieve removes the last remaining mites):  next is the rinsing of cocoons with a 0.05% bleach solution (about 2 tablespoons into a gallon of water) which removes any parasitic fungi.  After allowing cocoons to dry onto some paper towels, cocoons are ready to be candled.

    • Mason bee cocoons ready for candling in a candling dish.
  • Nest space- in the most unlikely places

    Mason Bees will nest in the strangest of places.  Remember my blog on nests found in a folded umbrella?  This is a similar situation.  The nest was placed inside a wooden bee home.  Bees proceeded to fill the nesting tunnels.  When all nesting tunnels were filled the bees found nesting space behind the nesting block.   This space was perfect.  The cocoons fell out of the cavities when we removed the block from the wooden bee home.   In other words, bees will find nesting space in the most unlikely spaces.  Their drive is to survive and produce offspring no matter what kind of nesting space they may find. 


    From G.B.  “I was splitting wood and discovered leaf like cocoons.  They are about 1 inch long.  Not quite the same size as the purchased leaf cutter bee cocoons.  Would you please let me know what these are?  Photos attached….  ”  These are leafcutter bees.  The native leafcutter bees are often a bit larger than the commercial species.  The picture of the wooden cavity is an awesome picture.  I wonder what insect burrowed into the wood originally?  Likely a beetle species.

  • Face East and under cover

    At my recent workshop, I stressed that the location of a bee home is the most important part of starting with mason bees.  The initial focus is to produce more bees for next year.  East facing provides the bees with a warm early morning sun.  A protected site  from wind and rain is another important factor to consider.   Ken H.  has it figured out.    His bee homes face East and receive the warm early morning sun.  In addition his bee homes are protected from rain and wind by an overhang of his home.

    Once you have produced more than a handful of cocoons, it might be time to consider placing some of the cocoons closer to the plants that need pollination. Mason bees travel up to 500 feet or so, but of course setting them closer to the flowers will save them time to pollinate more flowers.

    East facing

    Metal release box

    Ken was also kind enough to send us a picture of his metal release box.  Critters cannot get into this box, that is for sure.   Thanks Ken.


    Thanks Susan SH.  Wonderful photos.  These grubs are fruit fly larvae.  They will use the pollen nectar mixture collected for the bee larvae and grow their own offspring.  The result is lots of fruit flies and no bee.

  • Pollination is a requirement of fruit production

    Bitter Pit- – a tad out of focus

    Lack of bee visits on one side of the flower.  A slightly lopsided fruit is the result.

     Red Osier dogwood berries.

    Just down the road from the hall where the apple Festival was taken place was this lovely tree absolutely loaded with fruit. The bees must have been a-humming here in the spring.

    A great crop of crabapples for the birds over the winter.

  • 2017 Saltspring Island Apple festival- what a blast!

    At the start of the SI apple festival, volunteers sort through bags and bags of apples.  Sorted alphabetically, and taken out of the bags.  All in all a lot of work and what a sight.  Of course the ladies of Saltspring island always produce apple pies- Yum.  No picture of the tours around the Island, because Beediverse Products are on display in the big hall.  a great visit with everyone.  See you next year.

  • What bee makes this nest plug?

    Nest plugs come in all forms and contain a variety of materials.  The USDA has a pdf of various nest plugs you might encounter.  We know that mason bees use mud and so to wasps- but add them to the nest in a different format.  Other bees use masticated leaf material or a mix of plant materials. Each plug tells a different story.

    Click here for a printable page of  different nest plugs


    mason bee mud plugs

    Leafcutter bee leaf plug.