The Eco-CORN Quicklock nesting trays produced by Beediverse Products provides housing not only for spring mason bees, but other insects as well.
We are not sure what the bee species is in this photograph, but it shows the yellow pollen carried on the base of the bees’ abdomen. This makes it a solitary bee in the Megachilidae family – the same family as the mason bee Osmia lignaria and the alfalfa leaf cutter bee, Megachilidae rotundata. Gary G. from Sechelt, British Columbia, sent these photos to me for publishing on this blog. They were taken on 15th July 2010.
The rough mud plugs are typical of the early spring mason bee.
|A summer solitary bee species using a nesting tunnel of a LODGE with Corn Quicklock nesting trays www.beediverse.com
The big advantage in using Quicklock trays (as in this photo) is that they can be pulled apart and cleaned. Cleaning nesting trays removes mites and other debris so that cleaned nests can be used each year. In these photos you can see that two pieces of nesting trays make up 6 nesting cavities/tunnels. Each nesting tray neatly fits together to make 30 nesting holes. The name of this house is the LODGE and is available from your garden store or on line at www.Beediverse.com.
Note that no paper liners are necessary with this system. The internal walls of the tunnels have a mat finish to counter the usual slippery finish of plastic material and these nesting trays are made from 80% CORN material making them more attractive to bees than straight plastic.
Especially in the wet west coast climate, avoid mold on the surface of cocoons (although this can be washed off with bleach water) by opening up nest early in the fall. Late September is a good time to harvest cocoons and clean out your mason bee nests.