Talk about mason bees
The bee forum seems inactive in this area, so I'd like to talk about mason bees here, where several of us are using them for pollination.
I've been keeping mason bees for a number of years, but recent setbacks have made me decide to use new methods. My problem has always been the bees insisting on reusing their old filthy tubes. When I was using the cardboard tubes with liners, it was impossible to safely remove the liners from the tubes and impossible to tell which tubes had their females hatched, before they were already coming back to reuse them.
Last year, I tried Knox Cellars plastic "bee chalet", which was a big fail, as the plastic kept the interior constantly wet and soaked the liners.
I'm now considering Crown Bees disposable tubes, where the cost of using new ones every year isn't prohibitive. Does anyone have experience with these?
I've also read that bringing the bee home inside in June is keep to protecting the bees from the monodomtomerus wasp, which waits until they've formed cocoons to begin parasitizing. Once cocooned, bees can be safely moved. Can anyone confirm that this is the best practice?