Beekeeping forum: mason bees

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Name: tk
murchison texas (Zone 8a)

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texaskitty111
Apr 4, 2014 3:48 PM CST
These are my new leafcutter mason bee cocoons I received today:

Thumb of 2014-04-04/texaskitty111/523827
This is what they will look like:




Thumb of 2014-04-04/texaskitty111/996c48
I put them in the fridge to save till summer. I got them because we have very few honeybees left here.
I also got some hornfaced mason bees which are active in the spring. They look like this:




Thumb of 2014-04-04/texaskitty111/aa4512
Very bee like aren't they?
This is where they put their cocoons:



Thumb of 2014-04-04/texaskitty111/36ebe9
The smaller insert on the left is for the leafcutter bees. I guess they are smaller bees.

Cauliflower is just a cabbage with a college education (mark twain)
Name: tk
murchison texas (Zone 8a)

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texaskitty111
Apr 8, 2014 3:21 PM CST
No one else has mason bees??????
Cauliflower is just a cabbage with a college education (mark twain)
Name: Margaret
Delta KY
I'm A Charley's Girl For Sure
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Beekeeper
Seed Starter Permaculture Region: Kentucky Garden Ideas: Master Level
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Mindy03
Apr 8, 2014 4:40 PM CST

Moderator

HI Texaskitty I'm sure there are others with mason bees but they haven't popped in yet.

We just have honey bees here that we tend all other bees fend for themselves so I don't know enough about mason bees to help anyone.

But I'd be happy for you to share what you know about them here.
Name: Glen Ingram
Macleay Is, Qld, Australia (Zone 12a)
Bearded Dragon young male
Region: Australia Annuals Canning and food preservation Herbs Tropicals Foliage Fan
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Gleni
Apr 10, 2014 4:41 AM CST
Kitty, are Mason Bees better than honey bees as pollinators?
Name: tk
murchison texas (Zone 8a)

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texaskitty111
Apr 10, 2014 5:19 AM CST
There are supposed to be better. I think I remember the numbers rate was 1 mason is worth 100 honeybees. The other benefits are:
1. You don't have to feed them winters, as they go dormant.
2. They stay within about a 100 foot area pollinating
3. Honey bees are dying off, masons are not
4. They don't make honey
5. They do a better job of spreading pollen around, as their main purpose in life is collecting pollen
6. If you leave them unmolested, they don't sting
7. They don't live in a hive

Having said that - I just got them this year, but I'll give you an update on what I think when I put them out

Cauliflower is just a cabbage with a college education (mark twain)
Name: Glen Ingram
Macleay Is, Qld, Australia (Zone 12a)
Bearded Dragon young male
Region: Australia Annuals Canning and food preservation Herbs Tropicals Foliage Fan
Plays in the sandbox Cactus and Succulents Garden Photography Hybridizer Composter Sedums
Image
Gleni
Apr 10, 2014 5:44 AM CST
That is very interesting. Yes, it will be good to be able to follow how you go. Thumbs up
Name: tk
murchison texas (Zone 8a)

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texaskitty111
Apr 10, 2014 10:21 AM CST
Well, I put the bee house up today. These are the hornfaced bee cocoons:

Thumb of 2014-04-10/texaskitty111/54ea50
And this is the house:



Thumb of 2014-04-10/texaskitty111/8f97a2

Cauliflower is just a cabbage with a college education (mark twain)
Name: Glen Ingram
Macleay Is, Qld, Australia (Zone 12a)
Bearded Dragon young male
Region: Australia Annuals Canning and food preservation Herbs Tropicals Foliage Fan
Plays in the sandbox Cactus and Succulents Garden Photography Hybridizer Composter Sedums
Image
Gleni
Apr 10, 2014 5:09 PM CST
Do you put the cacoons in the house to hatch?
Name: tk
murchison texas (Zone 8a)

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texaskitty111
Apr 10, 2014 5:11 PM CST
They are in that little jar and its shoved to the back of the triangle roof. If they hatch there, they can find their way back easily.
Cauliflower is just a cabbage with a college education (mark twain)
Name: Jerry
Rio Rancho, New Mexico (Zone 7b)
Region: Texas Beekeeper Bee Lover Region: United States of America Plays in the sandbox
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jamyers59
Apr 10, 2014 5:47 PM CST
I found this cool looking domicile for Mason bees on Pinterest yesterday.

Thumb of 2014-04-10/jamyers59/4efa67

Looks like an easily repeatable design. I think you could rout long lengths of board. Then just cut the lengths you need and assemble the stacks.

I'm with Gleni, I would have assumed to place the cocoons in the tubes for hatching...I learn something new every day Thumbs up
Up to my elbows in the dirt while being on top of the dirt is a great day!
Name: tk
murchison texas (Zone 8a)

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texaskitty111
Apr 10, 2014 6:04 PM CST
The tubes are where the hatched cocoons make more coccons. Complete with mud plugs front and back, and pollen in the middle, with one egg. Whatever you do, don't drill holes in a clump of wood. No way to get the cocoons out, clean for following year, or brush out possible mites.
Cauliflower is just a cabbage with a college education (mark twain)
Name: Jerry
Rio Rancho, New Mexico (Zone 7b)
Region: Texas Beekeeper Bee Lover Region: United States of America Plays in the sandbox
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jamyers59
Apr 10, 2014 6:15 PM CST
More great info! Thumbs up Thank You!
Up to my elbows in the dirt while being on top of the dirt is a great day!
Name: tk
murchison texas (Zone 8a)

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texaskitty111
Apr 19, 2014 9:41 PM CST
Well, I put out the hornfaced spring bees. And every one of them hatched and flew away to live elsewhere. Even thou I had everything they needed right there. Hopefully, the leafcutter summer mason bees will stick around. That's really when I need a pollinator, anyway.
Cauliflower is just a cabbage with a college education (mark twain)
Name: Glen Ingram
Macleay Is, Qld, Australia (Zone 12a)
Bearded Dragon young male
Region: Australia Annuals Canning and food preservation Herbs Tropicals Foliage Fan
Plays in the sandbox Cactus and Succulents Garden Photography Hybridizer Composter Sedums
Image
Gleni
Apr 20, 2014 2:20 AM CST
How ungrateful. But may be they are just around the corner for now.
Name: tk
murchison texas (Zone 8a)

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texaskitty111
Jun 16, 2014 11:51 AM CST
OK, update on summer leafcutter mason bees. They are hatching, I think i see them in my garden. Hard to tell, as they are about honeybee size. Not one of them has put a cocoon in my very expensive chalet. They have to be putting them somewhere nearby, however. Maybe next year they will. My opinion of the mason bees would be to skip the spring time bees, as the veggies aren't blooming then anyway. At least here in TX. That leaves the leafcutter bees. My garden has much more veggies than last year.
Cauliflower is just a cabbage with a college education (mark twain)
Name: Margaret
Delta KY
I'm A Charley's Girl For Sure
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Beekeeper
Seed Starter Permaculture Region: Kentucky Garden Ideas: Master Level
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Mindy03
Jun 16, 2014 2:29 PM CST

Moderator

Great news to hear they are improving your veggie harvest.
Maybe that expensive chalet needs to age a bit before they will consider it suitable to make their cocoons ins?
Name: tk
murchison texas (Zone 8a)

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texaskitty111
Jun 16, 2014 3:31 PM CST
I bought a aged one, which costs more. I think the seller gives instructions that don't necessarily work. Like having a nesting chalet. I have emailed them about the bees not nesting in the chalet they hatched from. I didn't ask for a refund, I just wanted him to know his instructions don't work. He insists I must have done something wrong. Which annoyed me, so I can't recommend getting supplies from them.
Cauliflower is just a cabbage with a college education (mark twain)
Maryville, Tn (Zone 7a)
Vegetable Grower Canning and food preservation Dog Lover Composter Garden Ideas: Level 2
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SCurtis
Jun 23, 2014 12:33 PM CST
First time I've ever done leaf cutter bees. I'm in zone 7a and I haven't seen any hatch yet. Is it too early? I'm afraid I have the house mounted too high (5 ft from the porch but about 7ish feet from the ground.) Maybe I'm being too impatient
Have a black thumb except for vegetables and that's even a hit or miss
Name: tk
murchison texas (Zone 8a)

Tomato Heads
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texaskitty111
Jun 23, 2014 1:02 PM CST
Mine started hatching 1 month after I put them out, but its hot in TX. They are supposed to take two months. Who did you buy them from? FYI - they hatched right on top the house, but none of them are making coccoons in the house. I'm assuming they have to be nearby, though i haven't seen any round holes in the leaves either.
Cauliflower is just a cabbage with a college education (mark twain)
Maryville, Tn (Zone 7a)
Vegetable Grower Canning and food preservation Dog Lover Composter Garden Ideas: Level 2
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SCurtis
Jun 23, 2014 2:35 PM CST
I got mine from a local shop thinking that they were local, turned out they got them from Washington state. Which is very different from east Tn, it just started hitting the 80s/90s consistently only recently, so hopefully it's just not hot enough? I think I've had it up for at least 2 months probably more than 2 months.
Have a black thumb except for vegetables and that's even a hit or miss
[Last edited by SueAnnCurtis - Jun 23, 2014 3:01 PM (+)]
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