Anyone using Mason Bees to pollinate
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts
    2,208

    Default Anyone using Mason Bees to pollinate

    I am curious as to why those that rent for pollination don't use Mason bees?
    Great little pollinators with tiny, easily transported bee homes.
    They don't live long ..about 6 weeks...but that should be long enough for a specific crop. If kept cool one could control when that active period would be.
    Interested in hearing more about them.
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    N.E. KY
    Posts
    1,087

    Default Re: Anyone using Mason Bees to pollinate

    I plan on keeping some in the future, but plates already full this spring. I don't know how good they are for large crops, but they are the only ones I see in my garden.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Trousdale County, Tennessee
    Posts
    681

    Default Re: Anyone using Mason Bees to pollinate

    I think the problem would be the timing of the hatching of the mason bee. Since honeybees don't hibernate as mason bees do, they are available immediately when placed on a pollination field. Correct?

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts
    2,208

    Default Re: Anyone using Mason Bees to pollinate

    My understanding is you can keep them pupated by keeping them cool. Pull them into the warm and they emerge quite quickly. I have heard they are great pollinators and you don't need many per acre for pollination.
    Come winter you collect the pupae and store them until you need bees again.
    I have a few that I am going to try for interest this spring.
    Was hoping there would be some with experience managing them on the list.
    I would think interested farmers could set up their own each for pollination as they don't really seem to take much care as honey bees do.
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Morro Bay, California, USA
    Posts
    2,242

    Default Re: Anyone using Mason Bees to pollinate

    Mason bees are used in British Columbia on large scale for Plum and Cherry. Bushel sacks of pupa are harvested and held over winter.
    Mason bees are used in Japan on commercial scale.
    Mason bees are raised and harvested in Idaho and Utah.
    Mason bees are used on Cherry in Washington and Oregon.

    Dr. Gordon Wardell, now master keeper for Paramount, has pioneered the use of Mason bees in Almonds. He has thorough research on pollination efficiency and needed pupa number.
    The issue in Almonds is mason bees naturally hatch in April and must be artificially incubated to emerge for the bloom. Dr. Wardell has designed a special top cover for honeybee hives that function to provide the incubation temperature for the mason pupa. The "footprint" pheromone of honeybees and mason bees is different and flowers get multiple visits for this reason.

    The research effort is massive, Paramount has unwritten the construction of multi-acre free flight cages.

    I am not certain what Paramount's pupa source is (Utah?). Mason bees naturally congregate along moist creek edges (where the mud for their nest caps occurs). I suspect the post-Almond dearth in the industrial ag orchards means that the mother bees do not complete the full complement of larvae. The gentler agriculture in the NW means a sustainable bee population is more likely in orchard nests.

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