Total Pageviews

Search This Blog

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Yurt by Beediverse-new product

You can now make your own Beediverse Yurt with the hexagon roof and top.  It is a great design. We have 5 roof units available.  Other items like uprights, screws, hooks and ties are available at any hardware store. 
click here for yurt-roof product on Beediverse web site

We offer the roof unit as a product with full instructions and material needed to complete the yurt.

Fully assembled yurt roof is available as a  product.

Partially assembled Yurt.  With the fully assembled roof
and base hexagon assembly starts with attaching
 the first 3 uprights  to roof and base.

Fully assembled Yurt

Friday, March 16, 2012

Ants- watch out!

Check out your mason bee homes every now and then, and make sure you do not have a line of ants crawling towards the bees' nests.  A good way of getting rid of them is to first remove most of the ants bysquashing them, and then have a water spary and then drip at the location where ants are crawling up the structure.  When the ground is wet, ants are discouraged from going in the direction of moist soil.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Pieris japonica- early spring bloom

You can't beat this plant for being ready with nectar for early spring bees.  Here on the west coast of NA, the early blooming pieris is in bloom.  It is a hardy plant, great to have around the house.  This morning I saw a fly and a bumble bee feeding on the nectar of this plant.

Sheltered spot for mason bee homes

A great place for mason bee homes.  It is East facing and out of the wind.  When you start with mason bees in a location such as this though, it will take a few years before the bees begin using the mason bee homes.  Mason Bees will usually use the shingles first.

Rex's Field Shelter

Here is a good design of a Field Shelter.  It is constructed with one post and two supporting posts at the front.  Plywood is attached to the post and mason bee homes are attached to the back wall.  It creates a warm environment and it is out of the wind.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Mason bees for sale

Yes, Beediverse has both Osmia lignaria (early spring mason bees) and Osmia californica (late spring mason bees) available until late April.

Join the Beediverse-blog community

Join this blog by entering your email address. 

When you subscribe to this blog- see upper right hand side of this blog- you will receive notification of new posts by email.  Keep connected and let your friends know you like this blog.

Close to 28,000 items have been viewed since Dec of 2010.  I am certainly enjoying the increased interest in my blog.  It is a lot of fun to write.  I love getting stories from other countries.  This makes it all the more interesting.

Keep the stories and photos coming.  Other mason bee enthusiasts are very interested in how it is done in other parts of the country.

Thank you for joining.  It provides me with feedback on how I am doing with this blog.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A 4-sided field shelter on a metal pole.


I phoned you a few weeks ago to ask about where to place our new bee house.  You suggested a location that faces east and gets morning sun, and then added that putting a shelter around the house to keep off rain and wind would be a good idea.  Finally, you asked that if I built such a shelter, I should send you some photos. 

The photos are attached.  The shelter faces east in a place where it should get morning sun, and it's stained a dark brown to absorb heat.  It's about 60 meters away from the apple tree we are hoping the bees will pollinate.  I hope that's not too far.  The bees may find flowers and other plants closer by and never make it to the apple tree.  But we'll keep our fingers crossed.

Don N.   Germantown Hills, IL

  Hi Don,
Thank you for sharing your photos and story.  I think the shelter will work very nicely.  No, I dont think 60 yards is too far away from the orchard.  But, if you do find that pollination did not improve, set up your shelter closer to your orchard.  Margriet

This is where the shlelter is located.  East facing,
with trees as added wind protection.

Don's shelter holds one Royal mason bee home with
Quicklock corn nesting trays.  Above the Royal, there
are two sturdy Emergence Shelters
with cocoons- waiting for warmer weather.

This is the same shelter as above, showing more of the structure.

Joe's observations

Joe phone me today to let me know he has some interesting 'stuff' in his nesting trays.  More later.....

Friday, March 9, 2012

Washing cocoons - yes or no

I read in a blog the other day that washing cocoons is not necessary.

There are two good reasons for washing mason bee cocoons.
The first reason is to remove the majority if not most of the adhering mites.  The washing process includes a soak in cold water to remove mud and feces.  Then, cocoons are gently sprayed with cold water (while in a colander) to remove any excess mites.  If excessive mites are present (even after washing) mites are removed by rolling the dry cocoons  gently over a metal window screen (not plastic- it is not abrasive enough to remove mites).

The second is to remove debris and mud and feces from the cocoons so that cocoons can be candled for parasitic wasps.  Candling Mason bees was first introduced and developed by Joe Sadowski from Burnaby British Columbia Canada.  In a dark room, and over a bright light, parasitized cocoons can be identified, removed and destroyed.  By removing these wasp parasitized cocoons, there is less of a chance for the wasp population to increase and potentially wipe out your bee population.

It is pretty neat to see what bees and other insects have been up to during the previous spring by candling cocoons and having a 'closer look.

I recommend caring for your mason bees by harvesting and cleaning your mason bee cocoons in the fall.

A little parasitic wasp with its ovipositor ready to insert into a
mason bee cocoon.  The oblong object is a bit of bee feces
that is always on the outside of the cocoon. (photo by Hartley).

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Beneficial wasps-with photo from Larry

It is right in the middle of the mason bee season now.  Stores have stocked up with product and individual customers buy from us direct.   When it is so busy, I do collect stories with pictures on a daily basis for this blog.  I have some catching up to do!  Here is one of these stories from Larry.

We are cleaning our bee condo, and it appears as if we had a few of the
cocoons that had opened and there is larvae in them.  Are they dead?  Also, they seem to be larger that the the cocoons that are still intact (and which we have cleaned to remove mites, etc.)
My first response was to ask for a photo.
"Yes- please send a picture.  It sounds like you have some beneficial wasps."

Then I received this picture, it confirmed that this is a beneficial wasps.  What is neat about these insects is that different species collect different live food items for their young.  They either collect and feed their young with spiders, moth grubs or aphids.  If one of the wasp eggs did not develop, there might be evidence of the kind of wasp is growing in the nesting tunnel.

This grub or pupae still has a lot of developing to go through before it is an adult.  Further development starts when spring temperatures are on the rise.

These grubs are very fragile.  I usually leave them in their nesting tunnel, remove mason bee cocoons in the remaining nesting tunnels, close the nest up and set it outside again.

Beneficial wasp pupae.  The brown part is the head capsule.