Mason Bees YAY!

Melissa_in_NE(05 NE)April 19, 2005

I am so happy!!

I only put my bees out 2 weeks ago. I purchased 40 bees from knox cellars and built a house for them.

Yesterday I checked my Mason Bees and 2 females were very busily making homes for their babies. They were in the liners head first and mud spots on the liners told me they were bringing in mud.

A couple questions please...

Do the masons coninue flying in windy or rainy weather?

I ask because yesterday we had very windy weather, severe thunderstorms and hail and while I was walking back from putting my car in the garage I checked the bees and no one was home. Where do they go?

Since I saw the bees head first in the liners (on a sunny warm day) is that a for sure sign that they were leaving me bee babies?

All of the cocoons but one are now empty, I think the one bee is dead.

Thanks

Melissa

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George_in_MA(z5/6 MA)

Hey, Melissa,

Your post prompted me to start searching out info on orchard or mason bees on the internet. Very interesting. We just started keeping honey bees this season--I just installed my first two colonies (just having two this year)--and almost immediately I got a telephone call from a local farmer with an apple orchard, asking if I'm renting out bees!

Considering the expense and work and precariousness of keeping honey bees, I'm thinking that orchard bees might be a good alternative for pollination. But I haven't read that much about it yet.

Is it possible to establish and maintain a sizeable population in an area? I've read that they'll nest in the holes bored in wood only for a couple of seasons--after that, the holes get cluttered up with debris and they'll reject them. Do you need to replace your wood houses every couple of years? Do you need to start by buying eggs, or are there other things you can do to attract them to your area, such as plant certain flowers or hang empty nests...?

I guess I'm going to have to get a book on the subject and read up. Perhaps you can recommend one.

George

    Bookmark   April 20, 2005 at 8:56AM
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mtnbkr(Boise/z6)

Melissa--The cold, wind, hail, rain likely kept them snuggled in the tubes. You'll see them working again when the weather breaks. If a female got stuck too far away from home when the temps dropped suddenly she may have not made it back and could have died. Hopefully all is well.....
Happy Gardening...............Tom

    Bookmark   April 20, 2005 at 11:30PM
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northeastwisc(4)

Melissa - The bees are often deep in their tubes during unpleasant weather. They're also there at night. I check on them periodically by shining a flashlight into the tubes and looking for a shiny blue-green glow.

George - The best book I know of for hobby mason bees is Knox Cellar's "The Orchard Mason Bee, Second Edition". It's chock full of info and very reasonably priced.

Here is a link that might be useful: Mason Bee Book

    Bookmark   April 21, 2005 at 12:29AM
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