Mason Bees Spring 2014

Mason Bees Spring 2014


Yesterday, to my delight, I observed a flurry of mason bee activity happening in the mason bee house I put up 13 days ago on the side of the shed near the two plum trees.  It is so gratifying to see that the cocoons I cleaned myself from last year’s colony actually survived and are out flying about searching for pollen.  It is so exciting!


I was a little worried that I had put the bees out too soon since there weren’t actually any buds blooming yet, but it looks like they warmed up and hatched just at the right moment when the one plum tree is just bursting with blooms filled with pollen.  Talk about good timing!  It took 13 days of cold nights, a few cold days, then a few warmer days, and then one really warm 70 degree day yesterday and then boom!  Bees galore!


If you look closely at the second photo (remember to double click on the photo to enlarge it) you will see one of the bees coming out of the tube second row from the top.  I stood there quite a long time yesterday watching the bees and trying to get photos.  They fly really fast and crawl into the tubes very quickly, so it’s not easy getting a photo, not to mention I don’t have good close up capability with this little Nikon CoolPix.  Most of the bees were really small, but then I notice one much bigger bee, which must have been one of the queens.  Totally awesome!


A couple weeks ago when I was at the Good Earth, I was buying more tubes for the mason bee house and an elderly gentleman told me that he has a couple mason bees that had already come out of their cocoons in his refrigerator, so that got me concerned that mine might need to be put out soon too, just in case mine started to hatch in my fridge.  That’s why I put them out March 11th, instead of waiting for April 1st.   Next year I will put them out as soon as I see the plum tree beginning to bloom so I will be assured that they have food waiting for them when they hatch.


Just look at how much pollen there is in the buds of this semi-dwarf Toka plum tree!  What a good choice it turned out to be for early blooming.  Hopefully I’ll get more than three plums this year from it.  It’s only the second year, so it’ll probably produce a few more plums.


This year I also put up the other mason bee house that wasn’t used last year, just in case I need more tubes.  I had to re-drill the holes since they weren’t big enough for the store bought tubes that I wanted to use.  I also read that if you put little twigs and things in some of the tubes that it will help the bees locate the tubes they’re working on better, kind of like navigation markers.   The twigs make it look pretty cool too.  I might buy some more mason bees in a couple weeks when the rest of my cherry, apple and pear trees start to bloom.  I need to figure out how to attach the box to it in some way.


I placed the mud pot in the same spot it was located last year.  This time instead of a deep bucket I’m using a more shallow planter.  The only problem with the shallow planter is that I notice the water evaporates faster.  I’ll have to keep my eye on it and add water every other day or so.


Early spring is my favorite time of year.  It’s so inspiring to see how the garden comes to life after the cold dark winter, and it gives me energy and revives my hope for the future.  It’s truly a rebirth of everything, not only in nature, but also in attitude and imagination.  When I see how busy and happy the chirping birds are in the trees and bushes, I get busy and happy.  When I see how content my hens are when they’re out scratching about as I wander around in my garden doing my thing, I feel joy.  When the warm sun shines on my face I know that Love permeates everything in me and around me, and I feel peace.





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