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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Limestone, Alabama
    Posts
    577

    Default Orchard Mason Bees

    To all those who have purchased cocoons or filled nesting tubes of OMBs from me, this is a reminder to keep them refrigerated with about 70% humidity until time to place them outside. If keeping them outside in an unheated building in the northern states, they should be protected from hard freezes. You can place them in a rodent proof container filled with straw or shredded paper. I think the fridge's crisper with a moist sponge is still the best place to store them, assuming the wife will allow it.

    The time for placing the bees outside will depend upon your location and climate. The emergence should be timed to coincide with fruit tree blooming.
    In my area this is late March but will be later in more northerly locations.
    Be certain to have at least 6 new empty tubes for each filled tube you locate outside so the females can lay and increase your population of mason bees.

    I hope this answers some of the more common questions that have come to me. I try to answer each individual inquiry, buy I may have missed a few.

    Garry
    bees@post.com

  2. #2

    Default

    Garry,

    I'm just beginning to learn about solitary and native bees. I've seen bees out foraging flowers nearby and did not know what they were.

    This may be a good place to list your bees, it's part of the website for the Natural Sustainable Agriculture Information Service, section on native bees as alternative pollinators.

    http://www.attra.org/attra-pub/nativebee.html#suppliers
    Try to learn something new every day and give thanks for all your blessings.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Limestone, Alabama
    Posts
    577

    Default

    Thanks Gingerbee. I've seen that site but never posted on it. Oddly, I don't advertise the mason bees much and still I sell far more than I produce. Many go to Universities for research but a lot go to home orchardist and nature lovers. Masons are easy to keep so lots of people get them.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Talbot Co., MD
    Posts
    85

    Default

    I made and hung 9 orchard bee nests last winter and hung them out on the sunny side of my garden fence. This one alone had been used by the orchards and one more had been partially used by leaf-cutters. Do you think that the population will build over time? I did not purchase any nesting straws from anywhere. These are just local bees in my area. I live in a very rural area with lots of nectar and pollen sources.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Limestone, Alabama
    Posts
    577

    Default

    Mason bees are capable of up to 600% increase each year if conditions are favorable and ample nesting sites are available. If either of these is lacking, the bees will leave in search of forage and empty nesting locations.
    For each filled tube you place out you need at least 6 empty tubes for the females to nest in.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Talbot Co., MD
    Posts
    85

    Default

    Wow, didn't know that. If they don't increase a good amount this year, I may have to contact you for a boost next ordering season.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Beauvais, France
    Posts
    36

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BeeAware View Post
    Mason bees are capable of up to 600% increase each year if conditions are favorable and ample nesting sites are available. If either of these is lacking, the bees will leave in search of forage and empty nesting locations.
    For each filled tube you place out you need at least 6 empty tubes for the females to nest in.
    Hello BeeAware,

    Just wondering about these calculations - are you saying that under ideal conditions one female will produce six females - i.e. one per tube plus two/three males (in front)?

    @Tim - if Bee aware is talking 'after the bloom' I would imagine it's after the flying phase so the adults are gone and all the life is contained inside nest cells.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Limestone, Alabama
    Posts
    577

    Default Re: Orchard Mason Bees

    Just a quick update for this season. The mason bee natal tubes will begin to ship in early January, 2012 and continue thru February according to the destination. See previous post regarding the care of your natal tubes upon arrival. Thanks to everyone who ordered tubes this season. I wish you the best of success.

    Garry

    bees@mysite.com

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