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giant pumpkin peep
12-20-2009, 08:27 PM
So I got a gift certificate to this place. Normally I would never buy anything from here. They have this mason bee house. I was wondering if I bought it would I have to buy cacoons or would they move in?,37-481,default,cp.html

12-21-2009, 11:38 PM
If you have some around, they might move in, but getting cocoons would be the sure way. I had mason bees around our place before I got my first set of tubes, but I got some cocoons anyway. I got three tubes and after one year I had 15 tubes full.

I don't think that they travel very far, so if you don't have mason bees around your house you shouldn't expect them to find your tubes.

12-22-2009, 09:15 PM
Osmia species, or mason bees, forage an area about 300 yards from their nesting site. Therefore, you would have to have a population already foraging your area. Nesting blocks, or tubes, will also lure leafcutters. Female masons mate with the males very near the nesting site from which they emerge, so nesting sites would have to be close by. I can provide you with a couple of filled natal tubes if you'd like. Email: [email protected] I rarely check for PM's.

Parke County Queen
01-15-2010, 03:37 PM
I bought that same Mason bee house. Now I'm wondering how I can clean it out.

01-18-2010, 03:46 PM
I bought that same Mason bee house. Now I'm wondering how I can clean it out.
Are you asking how you get access to the cocoons and to clean away parasites like wasps, mites or flies?
The only way would be to gently split the bamboo tubes starting at the 'open' end - if they were thin enough - without shocking or damaging the residents. As for cutting of the node end and poking out the contents, it would depend on the diameters and how tightly packed in the cocoons are - how stuck they are to the walls.

If the problem is parasites, I would consider collecting find other less hard hollow stems (hogweed) or reeds (bull-rush), or making your own brown paper tubes/straws by wrapping around a similar diameter wooden dowelling template. That way you'd be able to expand and better control the clean up at the end of the season. You could always place the bamboo tubes you can't split a long way away to reduce cross-infection.

01-19-2010, 07:27 PM
I put up an empty box with about 40 holes and got thirteen holes filled the first year without any seeding at all. I'm in the country near St. Clairsville Oh

01-31-2010, 06:03 PM
Parke County Queen: Unless you want to break the bamboo tubes, you can't clean out the bees; you just have to wait for them to emerge on their own.

There are very roughly two systems for mason bee housing--one with removeable tubes that you can open and clean and retrive the individual coccoons- more work, but more insight into what's going on in your bee population (parasites, mortality, etc.)

The other system is where the bees nest in an impermeable material (like bamboo tubes, or plain drilled blocks without liners) and you just manage whole tubes or blocks at a time.

In order to have bees leave one nest block (or hard tubes)and then move to a new house, put the filled tubes in an emergence box. That's a box big enough to put the tubes in with enough space for the bees to crawl out. Beediverse uses a presciption vial with a hole punched in the cap. You can tape together a cardboard box if you van protect it from the rain - it's really only in use for a couple of weeks while the bees are emerging.

The bees will hatch from the old tubes, leave by the hole in the box, and start looking for the new house you have put out for them. Then throw away the old tubes.

gord hutchings
04-05-2010, 08:05 PM
You forgot about the stacked wooden tray system with channels either dado'd or routered into them, as another option. I use clear covers on top of each channel for viewing in on the activities within. As far as bees "hatching", the only time they hatch, is out of the egg, then eating the pollen provision as they grow into a larger larva before spinning its cocoon and eventually metamorphosing into an adult over the winter. When Spring comes, they "emerge" (not hatch).
I had a storekeeper the other day tell me that (she was told), wood doesn't work as you can't clean it! Funny, I've been doing this for over 20 years now and have had no problems. I've had problems with plastic straws, paper tubes and of course, the drilled hole block of wood is about the worst you can do.
To view a sample of my Hutchings Peek-a-Boo Tray and Hutchings Open Tray system, check out the photos on Hutchings Bee Service website - As the site is under construction, I haven't got the photos up yet of the most current design of condo, but you will see photos of the clear covers showing the bees actually scraping pollen off of their scopa into the cell.

04-27-2010, 07:06 PM
Surprise information . . .

In the "Managing Alternative Pollinators" book that was just published in March 2010, natural reeds/tubes are indicated as the nesting system that produces the most females.

It's a pain to inspect and manage, and near impossible to clean, but the book did note that it procudes the best F:M ratio of all of the tested methods.

So there's the bright side. :-)

04-27-2010, 08:38 PM
If you don't remove, inspect, and clean the cocoons, then you should at least rotate in new clean tubes/rushes/stems or blocks each year in order to prevent the buildup of fungus, mites, parasitic wasps, and other problems that may thrive when the bees use the same uncleaned tubes over and over.