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    Mason bee homes and nest types

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  • Nest types- which is better?

    

    Hi
    ‘Original’
    I’ve had a problem with bees released returning to my nest tubes. Attached are two photos of my boxes. I released about 20 in the setup named “original” and only one bee nested there. I’m going to try the setup named “latest” and was wondering if you think either or both should work? Thanks Norman Z

    

    ‘Latest’

    

    Hi Norman,  These are beautifuly constructed homes for mason bees.  Both should work.  At some locations there are lots of nesting places for mason bees such as cedar shingles and often mason bees use these over the ones we set up.  The only way that I know to get them to use your nests is over a year or two, increase the number of mason bees that are produced.  I noticed that the ‘Latest’ home is set on a post.  This works fine, but in cool springs, this location would be a lot colder than a site like on a wall and be a lot less attractive than the home on a warm East facing wall.   All these facts make an impact on successful nesting of mason bees.  Sometimes it is difficult to figure out why the population is not building up and it could be as simple as a few bird predators.  Try different locations and homes and slowly build up their numbers.-Margriet
    
    
  • from Holland- Osmia rufa and Roeland’s new nest design

    Roeland also sent me some photos of his new nest design (with permission).

  • from Holland- Osmia rufa

      
    Roeland Segers from Holland contacted me the other day about nesting alternatives.  We continued our conversation about Osmia rufa, an European Mason bee.  I asked if he would like to share some of his photos with the blog and its readers.  I was most delighted to receive the following photos.  If you’d like to contact him direct, go to his web site.  The website is in Dutch with some gorgeous photos.  He writes
    ”  My company has recently been rebranded to: De Bijen, Bestuivingstechniek (translating to: The Bees, Pollination techniques) from Nijmegen in the Netherlands. My websites: for masonbees http://www.metselbijen.nl/ (for honeybees http://www.rendementdoorbijen.nl/ )”

    Roeland’s mason bee web site
    

    Mason bee se-up while pollinating cherries.
    Mason bee nests are made of routered channels cut out of compost board.
    Boards are held together with a tie-strap.  

    

    Osmia rufa doing the finishing touches to her nest.

    

    Osmia rufa male.  Note the long antennae.

    

    Females resting over night inside their nesting tunnels.
    Embrace (Osmia rufa)
    Fierce competition
  • Nesting materials- 4mm corrugated plastic

    I use a wedge of corrugated plastic to secure nesting trays into a Highrise home.  Corrugated plastic sheeting is made from 100% recyclable plastic and it is easy to cut and fold to fit any cavity.  I jam it into the space above the nesting trays and trays are secured into the Highrise. 

    For the second year in a row, I have had mason bees nesting in these tiny nesting cavities.  These tiny cocoons are similar in colour as Osmia lignaria cocoons, but much smaller in size.  I have not seen this small bee fly, so I do not know what they look like nor do I know what time of the year they appear.  If you have a piece of corrugated plastic, set a piece in amongst your other nest materials and see what happens.

    Here is the Highrise with nesting trays (without the cedar roof).  The gap above the nesting trays is where I insert the folded plastic corrugated material and use it as a wedge to securely hold trays in place.

    

    A folded piece of corrugated plastic acts like a wedge above Highrise nesting trays.  Most holes in corrugated plastic are used as nesting tunnels by a species of summer mason bee, as can be seen by the presence of mud plugs.The nesting material below the blue corrugated plastic are the Beediverse Quicklock Corn trays.  Here the different coloured mud plugs indicates that mason bees use different sites to collect their mud. 

     
    

    

    The spring mason bee cocoon is on the left (with its nesting trays on the far left).  The tiny summer mason bee cocoon is on the right. 

    
    

    After slicing the nesting tunnel open you can see how the tiny cocoon fits into the tiny nesting tunnel.

    

    Closeup of plastic corrugated sheets filled with mud plugs.