Getting Back To The Basics

A place to show the changes in our yard, our garden, our home, and our life.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Mason Bees!

I went to a little fruit tree pruning work shop put on by one of my neighbors, Knox.  I hung out a little longer after everyone left to ask about a few things. Knox is about four years ahead of me in regards to the garden. We're doing very similar things but he has been doing it four years longer than me so it was like a little glimpse into the future (can't wait!)

Next to his plum tree he had a small hive - Mason Bees! He told me a little bit about them and I added them to my 'must get this' list. To summarize, they are a northwest native. They are docile, gentle, and one heck of a work horse. Their purpose in life is to pollinate all our early spring bloomers. Rain doesn't even dissuade them like it does the honey bee.

I went down to my local nursery - incidentally they had a nice little sale going on for all their Mason Bee stuff. I went ahead and bought a nice big Mason Bee house that'll last me a while, as well as the Mason Bee cocoons. I went ahead and hung them up and put them out since the nursery lady seemed to think I'd be okay putting them out now. They won't hatch till the temps hit the 50's three days in a row.

The cocoons go on top of the house, still in their boxes. They will eat their way out of the box when they hatch.

The little carved out piece at the end of the roof is their escape hatch

A look from the front - you can see the escape hatch at the top. Hopefully they will come back and reproduce in those little holes you see. In the fall I will collect them and put them in the crisper of the fridge. Then I'll clean the house and put it all back in the spring to start all over again.

The blue protective cover keeps out squirrels and wood peckers who would like to eat the bees and larvae.

I set up the box on the south facing wall of my fence, near the fig tree

I will update as time goes on!


K-Koira said...

Neat! Are these real bees, or some other bee-like insect?

Nichole said...

real bees - just not the honey kind.