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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Columbia county, New York, USA
    Posts
    1,535

    Default Re: My second year for Mason bees- 2011

    I agree with Dave in that my first year I saw wasps actively poking around in the bee boxes in the Fall....long after there were any solitary bees nesting. It's best to remove the tubes once Summer ends, just to get them away from possible invaders. You don't want to bring them into a warm house though in the Fall- perhaps make a varmint-proof container with plenty of air vents or openings and place it on a safe shelf in an unheated garage or shed. I have an unheated garage shelf to store mine after nesting time. Once winter approaches you can then store in same cold garage or in your fridge veggie drawer like I do, at about 35-45F.
    The little bee returns with evening's gloom,
    To join her comrades in the braided hive... -Tennyson

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Pueblo, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    686

    Default Re: My second year for Mason bees- 2011

    My first year I had 30% losses due to wasps (masons and leafcutters). The second year I converted the feeding silos in my hogshed into storage areas for bees. I left a small opening at the top of the silo (just enough to let a sliver of southern light in). The reasoning behind the darkness with a sliver of light is that when the wasps emerge they fly to the light and cant find their way back to the nesting blocks. The second year when I did this I had about 3% losses due to wasps. Maybe it was a coincidence, maybe it wasn't. This past year (3rd year) I left the blocks out all season to let leafcutters nest in front of the masons and despite unforseen losses I could see about 30% of the losses would have been attributed to wasps. I personally am going to pull blocks and store in a dark place after the mason season is over and set new blocks as the leafcutter season begins.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,770

    Default Re: My second year for Mason bees- 2011

    Thanks for all the advice. I learn from here and from doing it so it's all good. Overall, I'm pretty happy with my success so far. I've been leaving the block out all spring and summer so maybe it's time for a change. Don't know for sure how native the bee's are. They are from Beediverse and they look exactly like the bee's and cocoons that I saw before I got "store bought" bee's.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Belchertown, MA
    Posts
    105

    Default Re: My second year for Mason bees- 2011

    Hello all. Great info here on mason bees. I have four hives of Italian honeybees but am new to mason bees. What do you find to be the best nesting material? Wooden blocks lined with paper? Reeds? Cardboard tubes? Would like to attract some and figure if I am going to try might as well use what they might prefer the most. Thanks!

    John

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Columbia county, New York, USA
    Posts
    1,535

    Default Re: My second year for Mason bees- 2011

    Hi John,
    I have some success with wooden blocks using paper liners, but my masons seem to really love the cardboard tubes (either replaceable each year or with replaceable inner paper liners). I like to bundle the tubes into wooden box shelters with a slight roof overhang to keep rain out, and some chicken wire across the front to keep out woodpeckers and other large predators.
    The little bee returns with evening's gloom,
    To join her comrades in the braided hive... -Tennyson

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Belchertown, MA
    Posts
    105

    Default Re: My second year for Mason bees- 2011

    Thanks Omie! Do you have a supplier that you recommend?

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Columbia county, New York, USA
    Posts
    1,535

    Default Re: My second year for Mason bees- 2011

    Yes i do: Dave at crownbees.com
    The little bee returns with evening's gloom,
    To join her comrades in the braided hive... -Tennyson

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    96

    Default Re: My second year for Mason bees- 2011

    Thanks for the referral - I checked out the crownbees site this weekend and placed an order. Unfortunately, it appears that the Eastern blue orchard mason bee is sold out. If anyone knows a source, let me know. I would love to combine some with the horned face mason bees I ordered.

    Quick question/thought - Does anyone have much experience with "summer mason bees"? I noticed on Dave's site they sell different sized reeds for summer mason bees. I was thinking maybe I could bring my blocks into the garage after the Spring mason bees were finished and set out new blocks for leaf cutters/summer mason bees during the summer and fall months - then hibernate all of them. Do the summer bees/leaf cutters hibernate longer? Do you release them all (spring and summer) at the same time?

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Belchertown, MA
    Posts
    105

    Default Re: My second year for Mason bees- 2011

    Thanks Omie. Will check out the site.

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    SLC, UT
    Posts
    219

    Default Re: My second year for Mason bees- 2011

    Nesting materials are also dictated by your pests. Around here i have to use reeds due to mono wasps. Last year i had almost a 100% loss in my eztear cardboard tubes. Even the kraft tubes had losses.

    Ymmv obviously, but id recommend mixing up your materials so you will know what works and what doesnt.

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: My second year for Mason bees- 2011

    I have used wood blocks, cardboard tubes with inserts, and native reeds. I have tried them side by side and seperate. All work. The native reeds are by far the nesting material of choice in my area. Mountain west mason bees sells them for a good price.

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Belchertown, MA
    Posts
    105

    Default Re: My second year for Mason bees- 2011

    I think I am going to try all three and see what the girls like in this area of Massachusetts. There is an AMPLE supply of free reeds in most of the wetlands here.

  13. #33
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    SLC, UT
    Posts
    219

    Default Re: My second year for Mason bees- 2011

    Quote Originally Posted by Jaysen View Post
    I have used wood blocks, cardboard tubes with inserts, and native reeds. I have tried them side by side and seperate. All work. The native reeds are by far the nesting material of choice in my area. Mountain west mason bees sells them for a good price.
    Jaysen, do you have problems with mono and cardboard tubes? Like i said, i had almost 100% losses with my cardboard tubes and mono in slc this year, even the very thick craft tubes.

  14. #34
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Columbia county, New York, USA
    Posts
    1,535

    Default Re: My second year for Mason bees- 2011

    Quote Originally Posted by JMP View Post
    I think I am going to try all three and see what the girls like in this area of Massachusetts. There is an AMPLE supply of free reeds in most of the wetlands here.
    I'm reading about others and their successes and failures of natural reeds/cardboard tubes, etc. Since you are near me in MA, I'll just say that I put out a big can full of japanese knotweed reeds of all sizes last Spring and never had a single bee insterested- not sure why. I'll leave the reeds out again this year to see. But boy they loved my cans full of heavy cardboard tubes with paper liners. I had few wasp problems, but might have had even fewer problems if I had taken my tubes in before October. Next year i'll take them in to protect them after August i think. I will keep them in my garage away from wasps (and mice!), but I won't put them in the fridge until it gets really cold like in November.
    The little bee returns with evening's gloom,
    To join her comrades in the braided hive... -Tennyson

  15. #35
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: My second year for Mason bees- 2011

    Quote Originally Posted by kincade View Post
    Jaysen, do you have problems with mono and cardboard tubes? Like i said, i had almost 100% losses with my cardboard tubes and mono in slc this year, even the very thick craft tubes.
    Yes. Last year was the worst I have ever seen with the cardboard tubes. Those little "buggers" wiped out nearly every cocoon inside my inserts.

  16. #36
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Belchertown, MA
    Posts
    105

    Default Re: My second year for Mason bees- 2011

    Good to know Omie. I was thinking of using common reed (Phragmites australis) which are the tall "grassy" looking plants you see along highways, disturbed areas etc. I have seen some folks using wood blocks with removable backs. The roll up parchment paper and line each hole. Any experience or thoughs on that method?

  17. #37
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    SLC, UT
    Posts
    219

    Default Re: My second year for Mason bees- 2011

    Quote Originally Posted by Jaysen View Post
    Yes. Last year was the worst I have ever seen with the cardboard tubes. Those little "buggers" wiped out nearly every cocoon inside my inserts.
    Same here. Im going to 100% reeds this year in hopes to avoid more losses.

  18. #38
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Columbia county, New York, USA
    Posts
    1,535

    Default Re: My second year for Mason bees- 2011

    Quote Originally Posted by JMP View Post
    I have seen some folks using wood blocks with removable backs. The roll up parchment paper and line each hole. Any experience or thoughs on that method?
    Just be sure you don't put the new paper rollups into the block until right before you put the block out. Otherwise if the weather and humidity dampen the paper for too long before the bees come, the ends of the rolled parchment can start to curl inwards and the bees have a hard time getting into the tube- they chew at the curled paper to get the hole open so they can enter. Best to put the parchment rolls in nice and fresh right before you put the bees out to hatch.
    The little bee returns with evening's gloom,
    To join her comrades in the braided hive... -Tennyson

  19. #39
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Forsyth County, NC, USA
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: My second year for Mason bees- 2011

    Quote Originally Posted by Omie View Post
    Just be sure you don't put the new paper rollups into the block until right before you put the block out. Otherwise if the weather and humidity dampen the paper for too long before the bees come, the ends of the rolled parchment can start to curl inwards and the bees have a hard time getting into the tube- they chew at the curled paper to get the hole open so they can enter. Best to put the parchment rolls in nice and fresh right before you put the bees out to hatch.
    I have used the parchment paper tubes since '08.
    what I do to avoid the curling is the following.
    * cut all paper as far ahead of time as possible and then store outside with a weight on top of the pile.
    * Roll the tube against the original curl
    * Before putting on backs, store blocks with tubes outside for several days in a sheltered place (I use a screen porch) to let everything equilibrate and settle down.
    * Put a roof extension over blocks to help shed rain. (still have mixed feeling over this.
    So far everything is OK after a couple of weeks, but we have not had a driving rain.


    * Last year I taped up the back of the blocks to seal the gap that predatory wasps were using. that worked OK.

    I plan to try the blocks with the grooves and no liners this year, if I can get my act together.

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