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Thread: Mason Bees?

  1. #1
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    Mason Bees?

    So this year we are going to give mason bees a shot. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mason_bee

    Lot lower maintenance than honey bees, and should be kind of fun to watch.

    But I needed to make some houses for them. The starter pack we got had these little reed tubes so I made a little box for some of those.

    Then I made some that I lined with parchement paper to make harvesting them easier.

    Then I figured I needed something to put all those in, so I made this 'house' that I'll attach to the side of the shed.

    So let this bee a lesson to you of what poor planning, poor materials, and substandard execution will get you!

    But I don't think the bees will mind.

    They supposedly can use a little bit of an over hang to help keep the wind off them. Like we ever have any days in the spring or summer without wind....



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  2. #2
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    "harvesting"
    There's usually more than one way to do it...
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Art Mulder View Post
    "harvesting"
    They have a very short life span. They hatch, do a bunch of pollinating, then lay their eggs in those little tubes. You can take those tubes out after they are done, put them in the fridge for the winter, then let them out the following spring to go about their business again. Very interesting little bugs...
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
    If all your friends are exactly like you, What an un-interesting life it must be.
    "A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of" Ogden Nash


  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brent Dowell View Post
    Very interesting little bugs...
    Yeah I hear they're all the buzz this year...

    In theory they're supposed to be a lot better pollinators than honey bees. Should be fun to try anyway!

  5. #5
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    Mason bees? Do they know the secret handshake?
    "Folks is funny critters."

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  6. #6
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    Very interesting, as bees always are. Are you doing this for the fun of it or do you need the bees for pollinating. The houses described in the section (link) are cool. Be easier to keep clean and harvest the cocoons from.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Douglass View Post
    Very interesting, as bees always are. Are you doing this for the fun of it or do you need the bees for pollinating. The houses described in the section (link) are cool. Be easier to keep clean and harvest the cocoons from.
    I'd have to say both. Sharon and I are pretty avid gardeners and enjoy growing things. Having some extra pollinators is always helpful.

    I could see doing honey bees someday, but I'm not ready for that kind of additional work at this point.

    We do have some natural bees around here, and I'm not sure what kind they are. I suspect they are a leaf cutter variety. They have very similar behavior to the mason bees.

    We do have a few fruit trees, but with the weather we have here it's a hit or miss proposition if we get any fruit ever. We frequently get killing frosts in the late springtime that can make you do a complete do-over gardening wise.
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
    If all your friends are exactly like you, What an un-interesting life it must be.
    "A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of" Ogden Nash


  8. #8
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    Interesting, sounds like a lot less work than honey bees too. With as many flowers as we have around the yard, we typically don't have a problem attracting pollinators though. So do you order some from somewhere? Or are there some around your area?
    Darren

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  9. #9
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    We ordered some. 150 of them. They came in their cocoons in a little plastic cup. Once we get some plans flowering out here, we'll let them loose. Basically put them in a little box with a 5/16" hole in it out by the homes I've prepared.

    That should be it maintenance wise until fall. The natural reeds can just be removed from the box. The other ones I'll take off the house, remove the backs, and then I'll have these nice little parchment paper tubs of bee cocoons, if all goes well.

    Into the beer cooler they'll go until the following year. They should be able to pack about 7-8 cocoons in each of the tubes.
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
    If all your friends are exactly like you, What an un-interesting life it must be.
    "A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of" Ogden Nash


  10. #10
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    I was told that around my area, the mason bees will find you so no need to purchase. I have a couple wood block ones made, but haven't put them out yet.
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