• When do Leafcutter bees emerge?

    Leafcutter bees are great summer pollinators.    It is easy to start with these bees.  All that is required are bee cocoons, a suitable nest and some hot summer weather.

    Many of our customers have started their new hobby with these great little summer pollinators.  But it was not clear how long these bees needed to develop into adults and emerge in the summer.  We heard of people throwing them out, cutting them open and finding  a fleshy grub that does not look at all like a bee!

    Here are the facts.  Under laboratory conditions and inside an incubator at 30C, bee pupae need 20-31 days to emerge as adults!

    This is a long time!  This means that under normal conditions (and about half the time it is night and temperatures are cooler)  the emergence time is much longer than 21-30 days.  Under any natural conditions, emergence is more like 30-45d+.  They say ‘Patience is a virtue’!

     

    Twenty two species occur in Western Canada.  Megachile rotundata is a species of leafcutter bee that originates from Eurasia.  It is used in the commercial seed production of alfalfa.  The female Megachile rotundate has silvery gray hairs on the underside of its abdomen.  Other female leafcutter bee species usually have golden, tan, or black hairs on the underside of their abdomen.

    Megachikle rotundata overwinters in the pre-pupa stage. during last spring and early summer, temperatures are sufficiently warm for pre-pupae to develop into adults.  Then adults emerge to pollinate our summer blooms.

    Nesting material for leafcutter bees were first made out of grooved wooden pine boards that were stacked to make a series of nests.  Polystyrene grooved boards and nesting holes molded into solid polystyrene blocks are both used today.

    In part, excerpted from our book ‘Pollination with Mason bees” page 100 by Dr. Margriet Dogterom.  Get yourself a copy as 25,000 others have done.  It is the standard management guide for mason bees and includes details about other bee species.

     

     

  • Summer is here-what to do to keep your mason bees safe.

    Bee management is all about keeping your bees safe and healthy.  At this time of year, late June, most mason bees have stopped flying and nesting trays need to be stored in a wasp-proof bag or in an outbuilding.

    In late June, most mason bees are at their end.  They have either died in the field or have died inside one of the nesting tunnels.

    In the spring, bees emerged, collected pollen and nectar for their offspring, collected mud to prepare their nests and laid eggs.  These eggs ate the provisions of pollen and nectar left behind by their female mason bee.  

    Pollen provisions for young bee placed between mud plugs.

      Then, after they had eaten all their provisions, each bee grub or larvae turned into a bee pupae.  This is a resting phase so that their bodies are ready for the next step. The next step is where each bee pupae turns into an adult bee inside a cocoon.  All these steps are completed inside the nesting tunnels but only if temperatures are relatively warm- about 20-30C/ 70-90F.

    It is summer time when mud plugs are visible.

    When you notice that  mason bees have stopped flying- around mid June, it is time to store them while they develop into adults during warm temperatures of the summer months.   Of course, you may think all bees have done their job, but you might be surprised that  there are still some mason bees about that are still producing offspring.  If this is the case, come back and check in another week or so.

    Don’t store nests until all mason bees have stopped flying.

    As mentioned above nesting trays need to be stored at temperatures above 20C so that developing bees can continue to develop into the final adult bee.  There are two ways that I have successfully stored nesting trays until harvest time in the fall:

    1) The best location to store nesting trays with developing bees is in an outbuilding with a window.  Again temperatures should be between 20-30C.  Of course more than 30C would be a bit high. The advantage of the window is that when the tiny parasitic wasps emerge from the parasitized cocoons they go to the light at the window and no longer parasitize additional cocoons.

    2)

    2) If there are no out buildings available, I usually take nests down and place them under a verandah where it is nice and dry, but still warm.  Under these storage conditions, you need net bags for your nesting trays  to prevent wasp parasitism and additional re-infestations by the parasitic wasps.

     Procedure for placing nesting trays into storage: -Remove nesting trays from housing. -Do not drop nesting trays.

    -Do not turn nesting trays upside down.

    -Keep nesting trays as a unit. 

    -Do not open nesting trays  by removing tape.

    -Gently  take nesting trays to the storage site until harvest in October.

    -If storage site is in an open area and not inside a building place nesting trays into a Wasp proof bag.  Keep your bees safe with a Wasp-proof bag.  A bonus- it is on special.

     
  • How to start with our summer garden bee-“Leafcutter bees”

    Start now. 

    all you need is a bee home and some leafcutter bees!  Place your order before June 15th. Use coupon code  ROYALALB15

    Summer is almost here.  Don’t forget your strawberry flowers.  They need pollination too.

    Summer means your garden will be producing  fruit and vegetable flowers that need pollination and the production of fruit and vegetables is close at hand.  At Beediverse, we believe that summer gardens can produce more and larger fruit and vegetables with leafcutter bees.  Leafcutter Bees will be in charge of your summer pollination.  They pollinate when temperatures above 20C.

    For leafcutter bees to thrive, pollinate and produce offspring, provide a bee home that comes pre-loaded with a bee nesting BLOK.  BLOKS are specifically designed and constructed for leafcutter bees and can be re-used year after year.

    Order now so that garden vegetables will be pollinated.   One box of cocoons contains 25 cocoons. Set cocoons out adjacent to nesting tunnels on arrival.  Our Royal is our most popular bee home.

     

    Use COUPON CODE  ROYALALB15 to receive 15% off this beautiful long lasting red cedar home.  Offer ends on June 15th.

     

  • Want to see what is going on inside the nest?

    Check out this awesome viewing home.  Simply turn a knob, open the door and all is visible.  See where the bees are nesting.    This bee is winging its way back to the nest fully laden with yellow pollen.  Check out the pictures we have taken as mason bees work inside their nesting tunnels through the month of May and into June.  More pictures added every couple of days.  This viewing home is a pre-order product.  Order now for our first delivery in September.  It is on special with a discount.

    • Viewing home, with the door ajar.

     

  • A Perfect Garden

    Lots of blooms for bees in Frans’ garden.

  • Ted talk: Why we need bees and what we can do to help them

    This is a great TED talk about why bees are having such problems in surviving. She explains that the combination of pesticides, mono culture, flower deserts and lack of flowers all interact to produce a poor landscape for bees.  She explains that we can all do our bit to make it better for bees.  We can plant flowers and not use pesticides.  She emphasises that if we all do this the world of bees will be a better place.

    click here for Ted’s talk

  • Dandelion nectar for lunch

  • Treeless Orchardists

    In the 2017 spring issue of Pome news- Home Orchard Society, Karen Tillou writes a delightful article about the treeless orchardist.  This is a person who does not have land to grow trees.  Either living in a condo or apartment.  But the love of having trees to nurture and harvesting fruit never goes away.

    She equates it to her childhood experience where she had everything to ride a horse, except the horse.  She ended up leasing, borrowing and having some wonderful rides.

    ” So what is a landless gardener to do?  Or better yet, a landless fruit grower”.    She hears from people who own land with fruit trees, ‘how do I prune’?, ‘what am I going to do with al this fruit?’  The treeless ask how they can access fruit trees that are neglected.

    She writes that a simple introduction  to landowners with neglected trees can be  the beginning of a great partnership.  Not all responses are good, but she says on the most part landowners are grateful to have this working relationship with the treeless orchardist.

    Some folks go the route of guerilla grafters.   “Have you seen the street tree hawthorns that have a freak branch bearing Bartlett cherries?”

    The treeless orchardists can also contact Parks, farmers and or community gardens.

    Let us hear your story.

     

  • Best for bees?

    In this picture, which flower is the best for bees?  You all guessed right.  Of course it is the dandelion.  Dandelion provides that early spring feed of pollen and nectar.  The right food to get the bees going.   And dandelion leaves are great for smoothies or in a salad.  Yum!!

    The tulip is a wonderful flower.  It is beautiful in all its varieties. but does not provide any pollen nor nectar.

     

  • Pink to drop

    It is finally spring and my apple tree is blossoming!  With mason bees flying around, everything is in sync.  Orchardists assess bloom at different stages to give them a clue about blooming time and when bees are needed in the orchard.  This slide shows some of these stages: pink and in tight cluster, pink and open cluster, King blossom in bloom, all flowers in cluster in bloom and petal drop.  Once petal drop occurs, all possibilities of pollination are over.  Note though that one tree has various stages of bloom at any one time, giving the bees the potential of reaching more flowers and giving us more fruit to harvest  in the fall.   Have a great spring- now that it is here!