Blue Orchard Bees

Discussion in 'Mason & other alternative bees' started by Iddee, Mar 11, 2010.

  1. Omie

    Omie Active Member

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  2. Omie

    Omie Active Member

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    Today I saw at least two 'newborn' female masons bees emerge from the tubes. My, they are bigger than the males!
    But what's really exciting is that I saw some female solitary bees (at least two at one time) coming to the new nesting boxes and going in and out of the tubes! I am so excited!!!!!!
    It's so cool.
    I'm thinking the ones going in and out are perhaps another species though- because the newly emerged mason females looked quite bluish black....yet the visiting females looked more medium brown color and fuzzier. Guess I will have to look at some pictures.
    I wish they stayed still long enough to get a good look!
    My, but they are all loud buzzers though. :D

    I am very pleased!
     

  3. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    the masons are really working a few apple trees over in the pasture that the honey bees did not find. I have never seen so many of them around here like this year.

    G3
     
  4. Omie

    Omie Active Member

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    Hi G3, that is good news to know there are many of them this year.

    Our apple and fruit trees aren't even blooming yet! But forsythia and daffodils etc are. The two female bees that kept coming to the tubes today I clearly saw they had bright yellow pollen on the bottom of their abdomens, so they are finding pollen somewhere. :D
     
  5. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    Things are starting to crank here. Yesterday, I noticed the first filled and capped tube for 2010. :Dancing:
     
  6. Omie

    Omie Active Member

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    I now have several female blue orchard bees working the nesting tubes, plus there are several of another (local) species of mason bees suing the nesting sites as well- smaller brown mason bees, that we've decided are Osmia taurus species. Coexisting peacefully with the blue orchard bees side by side.
    I also put up a third nesting block with holes planned to appeal to leafcutter bees...we'll see what happens. These smaller holes are 1/4" diam. x 4" length, as opposed to the mason bee boxes with their 5/16" diam. x 6" length holes.

    Here are a couple pix of the blues and the O.taurus species going in and out of the tubes...
    [​IMG]

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  7. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    Very nice indeed.

    What are the paper?? tubes in the holes for?

    G3
     
  8. Omie

    Omie Active Member

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    G3,
    you line the holes or tubes with paper so that you do one of two choices:
    1) remove the paper liners containing the cocoons in the Fall and store them safely over winter or first clean the cocoons of mites and then store them safely for winter,
    OR on
    2) Just replace the paper liners every year once the new bees emerge.

    Both methods will drastically cut down on things like fungus, pollen mites, parasitic wasp eggs, etc...all of which can devastate the bee colony if the bees nest in the same unlined holes year after year without cleaning or disinfecting. It's a hygiene method to cut down on diseases and parasites.
     
  9. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    OK I understand now. Have not been reading up on them so I did not know.

    G3
     
  10. Omie

    Omie Active Member

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    Oh, I took this little video this morning of my solitary bees coming and going from the tubes...
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zkagSVQBrg
    At about 1 minute 45 seconds, you can see a blue orchard mason bee at lower right back out of her tube, turn around, and go back in in the other direction, butt first. :D
     
  11. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    Omie,
    How goes the masons?

    Mine seemed to of slacked off a bit in activity. I do not have half of the tubes I normally have in the locations I checked thus far. I hope some of the other locations did better. Not sure if it was the much warmer conditions, early bloom, mites, or just the ebb and flow of what nature gives you sometimes.
     
  12. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I noticed yesterday my block was being used. There were 8 or 9 holes mudded over and a bee working another one.
     
  13. Omie

    Omie Active Member

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    Funny you should ask that this morning.... I just now saw my very first blue mason bee tube get filled and sealed with mud! :Dancing:
    Here is the picture from 30 minutes ago:

    [​IMG]

    I got to watch her coming with balls of mud and put on the finishing touch. She seems to be done with that tube now and other bees of the two species (Osmia lignaria & O.taurus) are working the tubes on two of the 3 nesting blocks.

    things had slowed down quite a bit over the past 5 days or so, with cold wet weather. But now with today's 70F sunny, they are back at it.
    I'd estimate about a dozen females of both species are using the sites. If the cocoons winter successfully, I'm hoping to at least double the population in my yard next year. :thumbsup:

    Iddee, you must be excited too with those newly plugged tubes!
     
  14. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    YES, as I had no bait tubes hatching. They are strictly wild ones.
     
  15. Omie

    Omie Active Member

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    That's very cool. :)
    I know that some of my bees are 'wild' from the area, especially since they are another species!
    But I have seen blue orchard bees in my garden in years past, so who knows the real pedigree of all my nesters now? I figure by next year they'll all be 'local' solitary bees anyway, sort of like the feral honeybees that alternate between trees, swarm boxes, managed hives, back to wild swarms in trees again.

    My mailman Jim was very excited to see the first filled tube today. He watches them for a minute or two every time he comes through the porch to deliver the mail. ;D
    Here was Jim last year, all excited about delivering my composting worms, which he kept warm under his jacket because he was afraid they'd get chilled while he drove around on deliveries. :-D http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_9fPBEJTqGzw/S ... orms-1.jpg