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Thread: Mason bee tubes

  1. #1
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    Default Mason bee tubes

    Has anyone used this kind of setup?

    http://www.masonbeehomes.com/index.php

    Keith
    Bee Sting Honey - So Good, It Hurts!

  2. #2
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    Kiel WI, USA
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    At first I thought it was just "houses" for these tubes:

    http://www.territorialseed.com/product/31/176

    But it says they're polypropylene? And they look like a solid block, not separate straws?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by dcross View Post
    But it says they're polypropylene? And they look like a solid block, not separate straws?
    They are solid block, it seems like there's no way to get in there and clean out parasites or mites or anything.

    Keith
    Bee Sting Honey - So Good, It Hurts!

  4. #4
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    I've not used his product, and I am very skeptical of the practicality
    and utility of any plastic tube versus paper, paper/cardboard,
    bamboo, or other non-plastic and/or non-metallic tubes.

    Let me explain. Many, many moons ago, McDonald's gave out cardboard
    straws with their milkshakes. They were the "perfect" size for Osmia,
    7mm inside diameter, and about 6 inches long. Better than that, they
    were available in bulk, so one could pick up a dozen or more when buying
    one milkshake, or slip the manager a few bucks for a box of 1000.

    In the late 1980s, they switched to plastic. Plastic did not work as well,
    moisture condensed inside the tubes, and hatch-out rates plummeted.
    Dr. Suzanne Batra of the USDA ran some tests, and verified that plastic
    was contra-indicated for Osmia tubes.

    Perhaps the plastic used for this product can "breathe", but the basic
    problem I would see with them would be cleaning the things. The paper
    tubes are expendable and dirt cheap, so one can replace them every
    year (when washing cocoons) or replace them when they start to look
    "drity", re-filling the cardboard tubes (pretty cheap) as required.

    But how and when does one clean these plastic tube sets?
    Given that the tubes are always either holding cocoons, or are
    "in use" by active bees, I don't see when one could do this.

    Further, the claim made by this vendor that cardboard tubes can
    be penetrated by parasitic wasps is false. The cardboard tubes
    sold by Knox Cellars and others provide excellent protection.
    (The old McDonald's straws were too thin to protect against the
    wasps, but they haven't been around for decades.)

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Fischer View Post
    I've not used his product, and I am very skeptical of the practicality
    and utility of any plastic tube versus paper, paper/cardboard,
    bamboo, or other non-plastic and/or non-metallic tubes.
    This is why I asked I asked, not only do you have to have one set of the stuff clean and ready to go the next year and rotate them, but it really struck me as problematic in terms of the tubes breathing and whatnot.

    I missed the boat on some the things I wanted to do to get into alternative pollinators this year, they'll be collecting my equipment for next year and didn't want to buy things will only make life harder.

    Keith
    Bee Sting Honey - So Good, It Hurts!

  6. #6
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    Keith:

    As long as the fruit blooms are not over, you have not "missed the boat"
    on getting a population started. I think Bjorn said he had a large number
    of tubes, and if you have tubes, you can make PVC deployment canisters
    like the ones I make to get them out there.

    If you are lazy, you can buy 1-gallon paint cans for about $1 each,
    but they would need at least a drain/weep hole drilled in them for
    moisture issues, and one must jury-rigg something to hang the cans
    so they hang mostly level.

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