Mason Bees mating
Did you know that female bees can chose the sex of their offspring? Female eggs are fertilised, males are not. Usually, female eggs are placed at the far end of the nest cavity and males eggs in the cells nearer the entrance. Males of a lot of species of solitary bee species emerge before the females, mainly so they can be waiting for virgin females to exit the nest and mate with them immediately. It therefore makes sense for male bees to be in the outer most cells.
Leafcutter bees pass the winter as pre-pupa, finally developing into adult bees in the spring. Bees like the red mason bee Osmia bicornis pass the winter as adults, if you open a cocoon of this species in February the bee will be sitting there and fly off fairly fast.
|Winter is the best time to prepare for the next years solitary bee boxes.Clean any boxes from last year removing carefully and take out tubes and canes which contain next years larvae and place them aside in a safe sheltered outdoor place.
If you have used wood with holes drilled these may also contain larvea from leafcutter and mason bees. Although you may not be able to see them, they may be at the back of the tube.
Any canes which appear unused may still be used at the rear of the cane so do not discard them.
Cut new canes, use rolled wrapping paper, drill good clean holes in timber blocks, do not use treated timber.
||In the past I made many boxes for sale in charity shops, but the problem with this is people who buy them have little idea of management and use them as garden decoration.|
A miner bee sitting happily on my
Solitary bees will pollinate more flowers than a honey bee.
| Take care of your bee tubes and remember that a woodpeckers tongue can reach well into a tube or cane removing all bee larvea so its a good idea to protect the box with a 1/2″ wire mesh. at least 2 inches from front of canes/tubes,
Mason bees will leave a gap at the end of the tunnell/tube blocking the entrance with mud with its brood a good inch or so behind.