Mason bee a poor choice for Quebec?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Stoneham
    Posts
    4

    Default Mason bee a poor choice for Quebec?

    Hi, last year we decided to get some mason bee for pollination and also to help the bees in general. We did some research and nothing seemed to prevent getting mason bees for where we lived(near Quebec City in Quebec, Canada). We even wrote to where we bought our bees, asking if we weren't a bit too north, but got no reply and received the bees, so we took it as a confirmation that it was ok.

    But still, a doubt persisted about our climate vs mason bees... Then in april we receive the great newsletter from Crown Bees, which mention mason bees should be outside the fridge by now, or they risked running out of their stored food. Yikes! Well, putting them out was out of the question, there were still snow outside, like it does for most years in april, and there aren't any flowers out yet. So we wait...

    Last week got warmer, but nights are still around zero sometimes, and only a few flowers are out. Trees haven't bloomed yet. So this weekend I give a look at the bees in the fridge and , woaw, 2 males are out! I guess they decided to get out because they ran out of stored food. Well, no choice but to get them out now. The good news is that saturday was warm, and I saw them fly out a few minutes after I set them in the mason bee house. I also pu the rest of the cocoon there.

    Thing is, we're worried there isn't enough flowers out yet and that most might die because of the unfavorable conditions. We are lucky to have a forest in the back, but as I said, it's still waking up, so not many wild flowers out yet and our few fruit trees won't bloom for a couple of weeks yet.

    As such, I'm wondering if we would be better with leafcutters and forget about mason bees. I don't wish to have them condemned to die every year that spring comes late(which it has been for the last 3 years)

    Anyone else from the North East that have some hints?

    Thanks!

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Landing, NJ, USA
    Posts
    1,026

    Default Re: Mason bee a poor choice for Quebec?

    Is there a way to feed them til something blooms?
    Bill

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    West Jordan, UT, USA
    Posts
    1,118

    Default Re: Mason bee a poor choice for Quebec?

    mason bees are early pollinators. You might not see a benefit in pollination in your orchard this year. Depending on the source your retailer got them from, they might be ready to come out in early April or sooner in their native region. Now, some of the bees that you bought should make nests in your mason bee house. It might take them a couple generations to acclimate to your area. The bees that put the most pollen in their nests will be the survivors next year. They tend to emerge when silver maples, willows and early bulb plants are beginning to bloom. As early pollinators, they are great for cherries, apricots and such.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    6,100

    Default Re: Mason bee a poor choice for Quebec?

    I have a couple of thoughts. First is that I've had years where my mason bees are out early and I have no idea what they'd be feeding on. But, later in the year I have tubes just filled with next years bees. Second, I wouldn't consider this year to be typical. If you don't have success this year, I'd at least give it another go. Everything is off this year. All the peaches here are gone...the apples are late...the bees are hungry. It's just not typical.

    My gut feeling is that you're probably OK and even if you're not, you probably have good odds going forward.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Stoneham
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Mason bee a poor choice for Quebec?

    Thanks, it's reassuring. Hopefully we'll get some cocoons and over the years they will become more acclimated to the region.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Honey Brook, PA, USA
    Posts
    206

    Default Re: Mason bee a poor choice for Quebec?

    Quote Originally Posted by kinwolf View Post
    Thanks, it's reassuring. Hopefully we'll get some cocoons and over the years they will become more acclimated to the region.
    Have you checked your nest box lately? You probably might want to check it out (At the end of May here in SE Penna., I move the bees to my basement for the summer).

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Manassas, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    3,080

    Default Re: Mason bee a poor choice for Quebec?

    Mason bee habitat needs to be judged on a scale of a hundred yards or less. They don't go far to forage. In the middle of an orchard, they may thrive. Placed a quarter mile from any fruit trees, they may decide your box full of tubes is located in a desert.

    We've had no luck with them much further south than you are. However, we have abundant solitary bees of several other species, which we suspect are miner bees.

  9. #8

    Default Re: Mason bee a poor choice for Quebec?

    Good day. I'm here for the first time. Have been breeding Mason bees for 4 years. here is a video about this work. It's wonderful bees. But they are not in all climatic zones. I sent a message, which indicates the absence of these bees only 150 km to the North. But there was a lot of the ground bees, wood bees "carpenters". We advise you to pay attention to those bees that are in your area and breed them.
    ?????????_2.jpg
    still need to make houses of different type, and different diameter tubes. There are bees that appear in the summer, they need a thin tube. Wood bees need thick - 12mm holes.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZh_GhaSGT4
    Last edited by osmievod; 06-10-2016 at 05:02 PM.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Stoneham
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Mason bee a poor choice for Quebec?

    Quote Originally Posted by crmauch View Post
    Have you checked your nest box lately? You probably might want to check it out (At the end of May here in SE Penna., I move the bees to my basement for the summer).
    Yes, we just moved the nest box into the basement too in a beeguardian mesh. 8 holes were filled. We saw 4 bees sleeping in the nest during summer, so they seem to have filled 2 tubes each. Taking into account that had to get them out with few flowers blooming and with some nights still under zero(crazy spring!), we are pretty happy about the result. Hopefully, those we raised will become acclimated to the area and "learn" to get out of their cocoon a tad latter.

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