Friday, February 2, 2018

Mason Bee update

Here's a cooccon with mud screen off, still a lot of Pollen Mites, I think the brown things are droppings from the larva.

I thought I would post an update with pictures of before and after cleaning the coccoons.

The timing of the weather here is pretty critical for the bee's to get out and forage, with  a lot of tall tree's creating shade our yard is  not the best place for them, full sun starting in the morning would be way better and if you have a lot of fruit tree's you probably do, but my few fruit tree's struggle and the bee's help but a lot of them go over to the neighbors huge cherry tree so they do have access to pollen.

There is a lot of predation, parasitic wasps, paper-wasps, jumping spiders get a few, woodpeckers and a new one I discovered last summer, Carpenter Ants, I always wondered what was getting in there since there was always mud crumbs at the bottom of the houses. So next year I will make screens for the houses to put over once the bee's are done or the house is full.

This is a close up stack of the surface after the cleaning is finished, the silk covering takes a beating but the bee is protected inside the membrane.
For woodpecker screen's I have tried different things wood fronts, hardware cloth and last summer I tried a thin sheet of polycarbonate also known as Lexan, on one  front facing houses and it worked well, the bee's don't really like going through hardware cloth. So I will replace the hardware cloth with polycarbonate, I just leave a one inch gap and make it wider than the front the bee's don't seem to mind coming in from the side.

I probably get one to two thousand cocoons so the front porch is very active on warm days, and it's nice sitting out there in the warm sun with bee's working away.

I still put them out in batches in case a cool period happens and it does almost every year, but when the fruit tree's are starting to bloom some of them have to go out, and you can't hold back too long since first week in June they seem to be all done.
Animation of photo stack to show movement of the Pollen Mites. You don't seen any movement just looking at it but over a few minutes there are all kinds.

I have managed to get bit by the Mason Bee and I have been stung, both times was because one was tangled in some clothing, they are not aggressive at all, and we sit there with them flying around us and even landing on us to sun.

I am looking forward to taking them out of the fridge and putting them out, it is something I really enjoy.

Click on pictures for larger views.

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