Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 23
  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
    May 2000
    Location
    milford, N.J., USA
    Posts
    15

    Default Pollination Information needed

    If I remember correctly, the mason bee will travel about 300 ft. from their nest.
    With that fact in mind, what happens to the bees in the center of a massive orchard where their nest is 1000's of feet from the orchards edge?
    After two weeks, there isn't any pollen for bees to collect and you are not suppose to move the nesting tubes, so what do the bees and the beekeepers do?

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

    Default

    The mason bee nests would need to be placed throughout the orchard and not just at the edges. This is easy to do since the nesting boxes are small and easily removed after the bloom.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    milford, N.J., USA
    Posts
    15

    Default

    Thanks for the info and now for another question.

    Do you move them at night (when most of the bees will be in the tubes) or during the day and take the risk of losing some bees?

  10. #10
    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.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    milford, N.J., USA
    Posts
    15

    Default

    solitaryb:

    "@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."

    1.) On a very large orchard, what would be the pollen source be for the Mason bees after the trees are done blooming?

    2.) Isn't there a concern of contamination of the nest when the orchard is sprayed?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Portland, Maine, USA
    Posts
    1

    Default Mason Bee Starter

    I am trying to start my interest in bees with the Orchard Mason Bee. I am not at this point ready for colonies of honey bees but maybe in the future. I see a lot of houses online for the solitary bees. This is the one I wanted. Is there any advantage to structures with more holes, tin roofs, cedar vs plastic? Finally, can I put it up now even thought they are "early pollinators"
    Tx
    Orchard Bee House

    http://www.growingwisdom.com/index.a...&sid=1&cid=457

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Beauvais, France
    Posts
    36

    Default Re: Orchard Mason Bees

    Good questions - I am sure you know that keeping mason bees and keeping honey bees are relatively different activities. Mason bees are good for pollination, but don't produce honey, relatively shy and non-aggressive and are present mainly when fruit trees are in blossom, not all year round.

    I suppose the cedar may be durable, a tin roof also... plastics will depend on whether there are gasses given off or whether there's a risk of humidity where you are, whether you want to see a little of what is going on.

    I'd also check out Andrew's Reclaimed products if you want to compare your source with something of quality (and it's reclaimed wood).

    He's also got a leafcutter bee block design, and these are active later in the year.

    Different bee species may also arrive later in the season - I have just had nine holes in my bee block filled with concave plugs in the last two weeks when I had though all my bees had gone (my mason bees normally finish with convex mud plugs) ... so I suppose you can get a bee block now out all the summer and see what happens.

    You can also make your own habitats. Here's a video of four different solitary bee habitats I had made - a bee block, brown paper straws, gathered hollow plant stems (hogweed, bamboo, reeds, etc..) and my plastic tube observation box which allow me to film inside their nest cells.

    Good luck.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,764

    Default Re: Orchard Mason Bees

    I think when I get time I need to make some bee blocks. Saw a mason bee again about 10 days ago. They are hatching in accordance to wildflower blooms? And I have bumblebees mating, do they also need beeblocks?

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Sudbury,Ontario,Canada
    Posts
    127

    Default Re: Orchard Mason Bees

    Funny thing, is that these are probably going to be the first bees I buy.
    Perfect bees for a novice who doesn't want to be stung and that they
    can take care of themselves with only a little next box provided.

    Releasing some mason bees is probably one of the best things we
    can do to help with natural pollination rates around the world.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Kaysville, UT
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Orchard Mason Bees

    Tim:

    Let me try to answer your questions.

    1) There have been attempts made to "feed" the mason bees pollen, similar to the way in which a honeybee is fed sugars prior or after bloom. I dislike the idea of "feeding" mason bees (as if they were cattle) for many reasons, but I have heard there has been some success. My hunch is that mason bees are too picky and will eventually "abscond", but alas, I haven't tried it.

    To prolong the life of a mason bee and to increase its propagation, I suggest that at night, mason bee cavities be covered and transported to an area with more forage. Movement during the day will be extremely unwise, as you are likely to only bring a small percentage of the population with you, and they will be warm enough to buzz off the moment they are able.

    Transporting mason bee condos to different areas may cause bees to abscond, but at least it will give them a greater chance for survival. There are large operations that move mason bees to "netted in" areas where abundant supply of preferred forage is grown, and available habitat. It appears that "transplanting" the bees into a netted area removes the problem of absconding bees, but I am unsure if this action increases or decreases their "natural" propagation potential.

    2) Yes, there is a concern of contamination of the nest when the orchard is sprayed with any -icide. Understand that mason bees do not only spend time on flowers, but mining in the mud and near open water. I know fungicides are quite problematic with mason bees. I like to have the growers be transparent to me about when they spray, and then make the necessary adjustments.

    Kimball Clark
    www.NativeBees.com

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Pueblo, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    671

    Default Re: Orchard Mason Bees

    Very cool design on your condos kimball, I have never seen a nesting block such as that before. I would second moving the bees at night, the girls tend to stay in the nesting blocks at night. If one moves nesting blocks to an area with better forage one will get more mason bees so even if the originals abscond you should still come out ahead. Honestly I get more mason bee cocoons in town than I do in orchards.

    Spraying is bad and you need to know beforehand if this is going to occur. Its nice if someone notifies you 3 days beforehand so you can move your nesting blocks (if you have nesting blocks set up) because pesticides can kill larvae in the blocks along with foraging adults.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Woodinville, Washington
    Posts
    34

    Default Re: Orchard Mason Bees

    I would caution against moving mason bees unless absolutely necessary. Science studies conducted by Torchio and others say that moving a nesting block has the females vacating the next day. The houses were analyzed one evening counting nesting females, and then shifted to the other side of the same trunk at the same height. The next evening, few (5 of 100?) nested.

    Thus... don't move houses. this species doesn't like it.

    If in a large orchard where there are no other holes for miles, the bees might renest in other holes in the orchard.

    There are a few other studies that you can read at Crown Bees/Science.

    Dave

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Kaysville, UT
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Orchard Mason Bees

    Dave,

    Torchio, yourself, Tim and I all agree there can be problems with moving mason bees. I assume we're each speaking of the same species, Osmia lignaria.

    Tim's original question outlined somewhat of a dire situation:

    "After two weeks, there isn't any pollen for bees to collect and you are not suppose to move the nesting tubes, so what do the bees and the beekeepers do?"

    In such a situation, my responses provided an outlet for some sort of survival. Another option would be to let them alone, as they are likely to die or abscond naturally in pursuit of forage. Of course, a wise beekeeper and orchardist is one who plans to continue feeding the crucial pollinators once the pollen runs out—or they're not practicing sustainable business practices (assuming we're still speaking of O. lignaria).

    I want to clarify that not all species of "mason" bees struggle when their nesting areas are moved at night.

    Kimball Clark
    NativeBees.com

  20. #20
    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

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads