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  • Mason Bee Beginnings

    Bob D. from West Virginia started his mason bee project using reeds and placing the bee house with the reeds on a post. A post is usually a drafty location. and this means bees are cold and not able to fly and pollinated flowers.  Throughout the year whenever he was in the yard, he found many of the reeds scattered across the ground.   Repeatedly he picked them up and placed them back into the house.  These were likely squirrels or birds.  A predator guard would stop this from happening.
     In October he opened each reed by splitting them. Most of the reeds were empty. Some looked like they had something inside but when opened were empty or mite filled. A few of the reeds were plugged with grass, with cocoons and some had white catapillers. He stopped his examination, because he thought it was too early to open nests.  Mason bees are fully developed by September, but other insects may not be completely developed into adults. The harvested 10 “brown capsule like cocoons that came with clay separators” will give him a good start for this spring.  The 20 more fragile looking capsules that were surrounded by grass  could be one of a wide variety of insects.
    He is looking forward to using a Beediverse Royal home with a predator guard. Get yours here!
  • Beediverse DVD :)

    Hi, Bee Diverse,

    I work at an ecological non profit in Vancouver at which we keep mason bees.  I just finished watching your DVD, All About Mason Bees, and I wanted to thank you for making such a fantastic informative video.  The infra red footage was really spectacular.  As the video began, I thought to myself – “But what is it like IN the cell?  How does the bee pack the pollen and the mud?  What does it look like?”  And then, voila!  That footage was amazing!
    Thanks so much,
    Kristjanne V
     
  • New Product-Leafcutter Bee Kit-available soon

    Leafcutter bee cocoons.  Different colored cocoons are made from  leaves and petals..
    .
    Leafcutter bee Highrise
     Leafcutter Highrise-availabe soon

    

    Extra space in the attic for storing and emerging cocoons.

    

    Emerging cocoons in cardboard box.
    A predator  guard in front of the nest
     protects nests and bees
    Nests and bee cocoons behind predator guard.
    In the fall-Step one- lift nest block out of Highrise.
    In the fall-Step 2- push cocoons out with wooden dowel (supplied) and store in attic under roof of Highrise.
  • Packaging mason bee cocoons

    Labelling cardboard boxes.
    Labelled boxes ready for cocoons.

    After washing cocoons they are air dried for about an hour.  Then, cocoons are candled to remove any parasitized cocoons.  Cocoons are stored in fridges until packaged, and then returned to fridges until sold.  Packages are first labelled.  Cocoons are then selected and carefully pushed into each box.  In a package of 10 there are 4 females and 6 males.
    Filling boxes with cocoons. 

    Boxed cocoons ready for sale.
  • Variety of nests. Advantages & Disadvantages

    My friend from Duncan sent me photos of all her different nest types.  No matter what kind of nests you design or use, most nests are used by bees.  They will prefer some over others, but if there are lots of bees, and nesting space is limited, mason bees will use any type of nesting cavity.  But the type of nest takes on a different meaning when considering that keeping mason bees and keeping them pest free is of a very high priority. The ease of getting into the nest, harvesting and cleaning cocoons become a very high priority because it determines in part the success of mason bees.

    

    Cleaning station in the kitchen.

    

    These are hexagon shaped nestign tunnels made of clear plastic. 
    There is no doubt that mason bees use it, but cleaning nests and
    harvesting cocoons is not possible with this nest type.  In most locations
    if nests are not kept clean, parasites and mites build up in
     such numbers that the bee population collapses in 3-4 years.
    This structure holds the clear plastic hexagons, paper
    tubes and reeds.  Paper tubes can be opened and cocoons can be harvested.
    Reeds can also be opened with relative ease.  Take care
    when choosing reed type because some types of bamboo are near to impossible to open.
    This is the Beediverse Highrise with tubes on the side. 
    The Highrise Quicklock nesting trays can be opened and
    cleaned.  After cleaning these nesting trays can be re-assembled
     for the following spring.
    A great spot for mason bee  homes-a warm
    south facing wall under an overhang.
    Success!  Cleaned and harvested cocoons
  • Mason Bee home Kit- no nails- no glue!

    Over the holidays, we have been busy assembling our new Mason Bee Home Kit.  It is a nifty product and will be a very popular item for children in schools and in the home.  Besides the pieces that make up the home, there is enough paper in the kit for making 20 nesting tubes.  This will get the child started.  If they decide to make more nesting tubes, newspaper or Kraft paper can be used to make more nesting tubes.  It will be fun to see how children will decorate their mason bee homes.  Please send in your photos of completed homes that are decorated and ready for the garden.   I am looking forward to seeing the art. 

    Click on the link below to see the Kit.  Scroll to the last item in the Category

    view the kit

  • New Item-Mason Bee Home Kit

    I am continuously on the lookout for items that might be of interest to mason bee enthusiasts. 

    We have just added  a Mason Bee Home kit to our line of Beediverse products.
    The neat thing is that it assembles without nails or glue!  It includes instructions on how to roll your own paper nesting tubes.  This is an awesome product.  Another big advantage to this home is that it ships flat.  Savings in shipping is significant.

    Kit- Mason Bee Home

    This is the perfect item for people who like to put things together.  A great school project!

    Once assembled, the Bee home can be set out on an east facing wall, in a sunny location and under an overhang.  It houses 40 mason bees and is ready to pollinate your fruit trees.

    The kit includes pre-cut wooden bee box, mounting nails, sand paper, pre-cut Kraft paper for 40 bee tubes, dowel for rolling bee tubes, and tape for taping bee tubes.

    This home is big enough to fit a Quicklock nesting tray with 30 holes and with room to spare for additional nesting tubes or a release shelter.
    Instructions include how to assemble the bee home and how to roll your own bee nesting tubes.

  • Six Inch Petri dishes and How to use them.

    Six inch diameter petri dishes are very handy to have when keeping mason bees, especially when storing cocoons.  Winter storage of cocoons containing live bees can be problematic since you need humidity and air.  Petri dishes allow both air and humidity to pass under the lid and over the lip and into and out of the pretri dish.  Tiny strips keep the lid off the base and thus allowing air to pass.  All this means that living things can be stored in petri dishes.  Another good feature of a petri dish is that organisms can crawl around inside the petri dish, be safe and not escape.
    About 100-200 mason bee cocoons can be stored in each petridish.  Petri dish are stackable and can occupy very little space. 
    Here are a few ways to use  6″ petridishes:
    1.  Store cleaned cocoons inside a refrigerator that is a manual de-frost fridge)
    2.  Each petri dish can be labelled according to location and other information.
    3.  Store suspect cocoons-I call these DUDS!
    When candling, cocoons that do not contain a bee can be set aside and left refrigerated until spring.  In spring, the petri dish is left on the counter.  If any bees emerge they can be released.
    4.  Store unknown organisms until emergence
    5.  Petri dishes are stackable and occupy very little space.
    Stack of petri dishes with cocoons inside a manual defrost fridge.
    A thermometer is an important tool to make sure the temperature
    is right for keeping cocoons under hibernating conditions. 
    In late Jan temperature is lowered to between 2-4C or 35-39F

    Always keep a container of water inside the fridge. 
    This is an easy way to make sure that humidity is above 60%.

    Label each petri dish.

    In a manual defrost fridge, there is a freezer compartment
    that will require defrosting each year.

    In spring, the occasional male will emerge even
    though temperatures are low.

    For spring emergence, cocoons can be placed into Starter
    cottages or Emergence Cottages.  These can be temporarily
    stored in the fridge, until weather conditions are reasonable.

    Store cocoons inside Petri dishes that may contain parasitic wasps. 
    Place on kitchen counter in spring.  If any bees emerge
     they can be released.  Parasitic wasps can be destroyed by freezing .
  • New Limited edition -Scoop with natural wood handle

    Randy from Olympia has created a unique and premium product for Beediverse.
    The new product is a handcrafted scoop with the handle crafted from native wood.
    The wood stock is carefully dried until it stabilized without cracking.
    Then the handle is hand-crafted into a scoop handle.  Wood type available is flowering plum, native hazel nut and cherry while quantities last.
    The plum is dense and heavier then the hazel.  The hazel is a lighter wood and tough.    Cherry  has a reddish brown color.Go to the link below and see our new product.  This is a great product for the mason bee keeper who has everything!
    Variation in hand-crafted Limited Edition Scoops

    For a bit of fun, Randy took a photo while he was grinding a scoop at the grinding wheel.  What is interesting about all this is that hard metal creates lots of sparks, like in this photo, and softer metals create very few sparks. Great photo Randy!

    Sparks come-a-flying off high quality metal while Randy is grinding the metal down to form a scoop.
  • Osmia californica- New Bee Product

    This little mason bee Osmia californica, emerges soon after the early spring mason bee Osmia lignaria.  We have supplies of Osmia californica available for our customers  Click here for ordering your mason bees
    This little bee uses smaller nesting holes and has chewed leaf material as its nest plug.  It will double the pollination season for your garden.  Each bee nests and pollinates for about a month.Click here for more details about Osmia Californica