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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    Dexter, Michigan
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    46

    Default When to put out Mason and Bumble houses?

    I am thinking that I read Mason bees begin looking for houses in mid March but is that everywhere in the world?

    We have temps here (Michigan) in the teens at night still and snow during the day.

    Do I wait until I see bees on flowers or is that too late?

    Will

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Columbia county, New York, USA
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    Default Re: When to put out Mason and Bumble houses?

    Hi....exciting!
    Mason bees will normally emerge from their winter cocoons around the time of fruit tree blooms- that varies with the region of course. If you get your boxes set up before the fruit trees in your area bloom, you will be ok.
    I've read they will also emerge after experiencing 3 consecutive days of 50F or higher.

    I put up my mason boxes last week during a warm spell, but I don't expect any bees to be active yet. We too are having another cold spell- highs in the 40's, nightime lows in the teens and twenties. Nothing blooming here yet either.
    It's still way too early for the native bees to be active or nesting.
    Last year I put up my nesting boxes on March 18th, but my mason cocoons didn't start hatching til April 2nd.
    One thing to remember- the males will hatch first, but some of the later females may take as long as another two weeks to emerge- don't toss them away accidentally thinking they are no good!
    Last edited by Omie; 03-23-2011 at 02:44 PM.
    The little bee returns with evening's gloom,
    To join her comrades in the braided hive... -Tennyson

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Spokane, WA
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: When to put out Mason and Bumble houses?

    When I got my mason bees, I just stuck them outside (January) and waited for nature to do its course. They woke up on their own when the time was right.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Dexter, Michigan
    Posts
    46

    Default Re: When to put out Mason and Bumble houses?

    This is my first year with them so I have none to place outside. Should I put my bee houses out now? We might get some snow but I don't think that will matter as they are rain proof.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Columbia county, New York, USA
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    1,540

    Default Re: When to put out Mason and Bumble houses?

    Sure, put the houses up. A little snow and rain won't hurt them, and you'll be ready for when any early bees come snooping around looking for nesting spots.
    The little bee returns with evening's gloom,
    To join her comrades in the braided hive... -Tennyson

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    White Rock, BC, Canada
    Posts
    30

    Default Re: When to put out Mason and Bumble houses?

    Just North of the U.S. Border here in White Rock BC the temperature reached +17C today and 5% of my Mason Bees emerged. Just one day later then they started emerging last year. It's my experience that the rest of them will emerge now over about 3-4 weeks. With the first females emerging probably next week sometime. Dandelions and several other flowers are out in full force. The Cherry tree blooms look like they will open any day along with the Pear tree. Apple looks a week or two out yet, but very excited my 3rd year of Mason Bees has now begun today

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    White Rock, BC, Canada
    Posts
    30

    Default Re: When to put out Mason and Bumble houses?

    I should mention until this afternoon my bees were in the detached garage in the dark where it's always about 2-3 degrees Celsius cooler. But even with that they started emerging today. So they are now all outside beside my homes for 2011. It seems typical that a few days above 13C or a big spike above like today starts the emergence process for them.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Columbia county, New York, USA
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    Default Re: When to put out Mason and Bumble houses?

    That's cool, Borderbee.
    It's still more winter-like here where I am in NY- we have no hint of any dandelions blooming yet, no fruit tree blooms....only the crocuses are blooming yet, and it's well below freezing every night still. Where is our Spring??
    The little bee returns with evening's gloom,
    To join her comrades in the braided hive... -Tennyson

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Woodinville, Washington
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: When to put out Mason and Bumble houses?

    If you look to our website, http://www.crownbees.com, we suggest that you should just be tracking nature's path. I'd keep your bees in the cooler/refrigerator until you see enough pollen in bloom. The bees can last through April in their cocoons before you start seeing mortality occuring.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    White Rock, BC, Canada
    Posts
    30

    Default Re: When to put out Mason and Bumble houses?

    I can understand why some would want to delay or stagger release times to get the maximum pollination on certain trees, or to avoid death if there is a late frost. But I avoid refrigeration and just keep my cocoons slightly cooler in a dark shaded shed and do my best to control moisture / humidity. I figure when nature kicks in and they start emerging in those conditions it's time to put them out. It's also been after various flowers and plants have started blooming so I know there is enough pollen available. We don't usually get frost this late, but if there was a warning I would bring the cocoons back in. My bees seem to naturally stagger emerging over about a month.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Woodinville, Washington
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: When to put out Mason and Bumble houses?

    At a Blue Orchard Bee conference in Modesto last December, one of the ARS experiments reports was on "mortality and energy of BOB's under a normal winter condition and a regulated one."

    Basic answer was that bees hibernated under a consistent 4 C or 39F temperature had better survival rates and came out with much greater energy than those subjected to a normal winter swing temperatures.

    Granted, this conference was full of professionals wanting to have every bee survive and come forth with exuberance into their blossoms. And most people reading this forum aren't in that need.

    In the grand scheme, it's survival of the fittest in most backyards, which is fine. For those who have a need to achieve a solid pollination of their orchard, I'd suggest they refrigerate.

    In this formu topic of when to put them out? I look to acheive maximum production. Forcing a staggared release is probably as good a natural one. we're trying to not have dispersal. If later emerging bees see activity already within a set of holes, they're more likely to hang around and join in.

    Controled and natural, as in your case, is great!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Dexter, Michigan
    Posts
    46

    Default Re: When to put out Mason and Bumble houses?

    I don't have any bees to put out this year, being my first. I just wondered when the best time to put my houses out. I don't want the local bees going elsewhere because I didn't get my houses out in time

    I'm going to put them out this weekend and see how the light/weather hits them. If nobody moves in for a few more weeks I have time to change my locations.


    Switching to bumble bee houses, I have 4 to put out. Do they all go on the ground? I assume I need to put something heavy on them to keep skunks and possums from tipping them over in an attempt to get inside???


    Will

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Columbia county, New York, USA
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    1,540

    Default Re: When to put out Mason and Bumble houses?

    Quote Originally Posted by Renthorin View Post
    I'm going to put them out this weekend and see how the light/weather hits them. If nobody moves in for a few more weeks I have time to change my locations.
    Will
    My masons like to be positioned so the early morning sun warms the boxes, but the height of the day in the heat or rain they will be protected from rain and shaded from intense heat.
    These boxes get the first morning sun on them:
    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_9fPBEJTqGz...-April2010.jpg
    The little bee returns with evening's gloom,
    To join her comrades in the braided hive... -Tennyson

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Woodinville, Washington
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: When to put out Mason and Bumble houses?

    I wouldn't necessarily move nests around, as one may be using it without your knowledge.

    Rather, put several around (using straws/reeds) and see which ones the bees preferred at the end of the summer.

    I'll have some 6mm and 7mm available for sale within 2 months. Right now, the industry only sells 8mm (5/16").

    Dave

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    White Rock, BC, Canada
    Posts
    30

    Default Re: When to put out Mason and Bumble houses?

    Quote Originally Posted by woodinvilledave View Post
    At a Blue Orchard Bee conference in Modesto last December, one of the ARS experiments reports was on "mortality and energy of BOB's under a normal winter condition and a regulated one."
    I will report back on how the mortality goes this year. I'm still small backyard scale as you say, but last year I was 45 of 45 successful emergence, so 0% mortality. This year I gave a way quite a few cleaned cocoons, but kept 100 so I will have to see how mortality plays a factor this year. I don't think my wife or the environment wants me to have a bee fridge just yet...

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Dexter, Michigan
    Posts
    46

    Default Re: When to put out Mason and Bumble houses?

    It reached 65 today, but supposed to be in the 40-50 range the rest of the week.

    I hung them in what I believe will be the best location where I plan to have my garden. They might be happier in the front yard by all the fruit trees...but that's only 55 feet away or so.

    Here is a picture of the two houses.


  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    White Rock, BC, Canada
    Posts
    30

    Default Re: When to put out Mason and Bumble houses?

    Great looking houses Renthorin, Thanks for sharing!

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Columbia county, New York, USA
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    1,540

    Default Re: When to put out Mason and Bumble houses?

    yes, they look very nice and inviting!
    The little bee returns with evening's gloom,
    To join her comrades in the braided hive... -Tennyson

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Columbia county, New York, USA
    Posts
    1,540

    Default Re: When to put out Mason and Bumble houses?

    I put out my two bumblebee nesting boxes today, in two sheltered low shady spots in my yard. I half-buried them and heaped wood chip mulch over them so just the front hole was showing. For bedding, i had saved up a whole bunch of wool and cotton dryer lint (no fabric softener) and mixed it up with wads of cat hair from brushing my cats. I figure mouse nests typically have lots of deer hair, rabbit fur, and bird feathers in them.
    So I'll keep an eye on them.
    My mason boxes have been up for a week with no wild visitors yet. My saved cocoons are still in the fridge since none of the fruit trees are blooming yet- just the willow trees, and a couple of maples starting. I will put the cocoons out in emergence boxes in another few days when bushes start blooming.
    Meanwhile, I haven't seen any wild bumblebees or mason bees out and about at all yet- a late Spring!
    My honeybees have not made any drones yet either.
    The little bee returns with evening's gloom,
    To join her comrades in the braided hive... -Tennyson

  20. #20
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    White Rock, BC, Canada
    Posts
    30

    Default Re: When to put out Mason and Bumble houses?

    Spring seems to be getting later and later.... My first couple female Osmia Lignaria finally emerged today, a full 3 weeks later than last year and almost a month later than in 2009. Forecast is for great weather this long weekend though which will hopefully bring the rest out.

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