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First Go at Mason Bees


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16 replies to this topic

#1 Offline Zeiss - Posted February 25 2021 - 12:25 AM

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So I found out mason bees are actually sold as native pollinators and I decided to do some research.  I came up on a few sites, but they never specified what species they were actually selling, so I opted out of those.  I ended up finding the website Mason Bees For Sale and got myself some Osmia californica since I live in California.  Osmia texana and Osmia lignaria propinqua are also found in the western states, but I didn't feel like spending more money.  I don't have a hotel yet, but I'll probably just make something cheap and easily cleaned after each season so I don't have to deal with parasites and diseases.  


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#2 Offline ANTdrew - Posted February 25 2021 - 3:37 AM

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Awesome! I have these in my yard every year. The species I get are Osmia cornifrons (which are invasive) and the native Osmia lignaria.
Cheapest set up you can do is to find a patch of bamboo somewhere and cut stems. Tie them in a bundle and keep them in a sunny spot. You can change out bundles every few seasons. I also like drilling holes in cool pieces of driftwood I find.
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"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25  

Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.


#3 Offline Scherme - Posted February 25 2021 - 7:00 AM

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Checking mason bee house prices now lol. 

I loved watching the one who moved into a pin hole in the plastic casing of my sliding glass door. 

Might have to put together a house myself now.

 

Edit: A couple boards drilled out with a roof seems suitable enough for O. lignaria and simple. I'll put a couple up around the garden this year.

 

Would love to see some video or pics if you get them set up.


Edited by Scherme, February 25 2021 - 7:16 AM.

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#4 Offline ANTdrew - Posted February 25 2021 - 7:13 AM

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Do it! I'll post some photos of mine when I get the chance.


"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25  

Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.


#5 Offline Scherme - Posted February 25 2021 - 7:22 AM

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https://www.hobbyfar...ason-bee-house/

 

this guide suggests inserting paper straws and then removing the larvae inside the paper straws in the fall to let them eclose in another place, then inserting fresh straws into the nest to keep it clean.


Tetramorium immigrans | Journal

Lasius Neoniger | Journal

Camponotus Pennsylvanicus | Journal

Camponotus Chromaiodes | Journal

Schermicarium - DIY | Journal


#6 Offline antsandmore - Posted February 25 2021 - 9:18 AM

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So I found out mason bees are actually sold as native pollinators and I decided to do some research.  I came up on a few sites, but they never specified what species they were actually selling, so I opted out of those.  I ended up finding the website Mason Bees For Sale and got myself some Osmia californica since I live in California.  Osmia texana and Osmia lignaria propinqua are also found in the western states, but I didn't feel like spending more money.  I don't have a hotel yet, but I'll probably just make something cheap and easily cleaned after each season so I don't have to deal with parasites and diseases.  

This is awesome! Be sure to keep us updated on how you do!


Ants I am keeping:

  • Crematogaster colony, queen and 15+ workers coming strong!

#7 Offline M_Ants - Posted February 25 2021 - 6:03 PM

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Do you have to buy new bees each year?


Veromessor pergandei- 3 queens 50ish workers and brood

Veromessor andrei

Myrmecocystus testaceus

Crematogaster sp. 

C. baldies a.k.a bald fraggles a.k.a C. absquatulator

Hypoponera opaciceps

Brachymyrmex patagonicus

https://www.youtube....FG7utFVBA/about


#8 Offline ANTdrew - Posted February 25 2021 - 6:30 PM

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I’ve never bought any. They just showed up in my yard. Females raise a new generation each year, then die. They’re only active three or four weeks in early spring, around when the cherries blossom.

"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25  

Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.


#9 Offline Zeiss - Posted February 25 2021 - 6:59 PM

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Do you have to buy new bees each year?

You don't have to.  You might even be able to get some native ones in your area if you set up a bee hotel, but make sure you can clean the hotel out each winter and take the cocoons inside to protect them from parasites and diseases.  

 

I'm buying because I want a native species I can release and have pollinate my area.  Usually they will come back and lay their eggs in the bee hotel you set up and you can keep them going year after year with proper care.



#10 Offline Zeiss - Posted February 25 2021 - 9:28 PM

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This video is great at showing how they work and their life cycle.  
 

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#11 Offline Scherme - Posted February 26 2021 - 3:38 AM

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What an awesome video! Definitely setting up some nests. 

 

Those PBS series', like Eons are so good. 


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Tetramorium immigrans | Journal

Lasius Neoniger | Journal

Camponotus Pennsylvanicus | Journal

Camponotus Chromaiodes | Journal

Schermicarium - DIY | Journal


#12 Offline antsandmore - Posted March 2 2021 - 3:41 PM

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did you get them yet?

also, how does this bee hotel work?


Edited by antsandmore, March 2 2021 - 3:50 PM.

Ants I am keeping:

  • Crematogaster colony, queen and 15+ workers coming strong!

#13 Offline Zeiss - Posted March 2 2021 - 3:50 PM

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I haven't gotten them yet.  The expected delivery date is March 5th, but hopefully they arrive faster.


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#14 Offline FSTP - Posted March 2 2021 - 4:24 PM

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I'll be putting several different varieties of poppy seedlings I started into ground soon. Would be really neat to get a bunch of these Mason Bee's for the poppy patch. can't wait to hear how they do for you Zeiss!



#15 Offline ANTdrew - Posted March 2 2021 - 4:27 PM

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I'll be putting several different varieties of poppy seedlings I started into ground soon. Would be really neat to get a bunch of these Mason Bee's for the poppy patch. can't wait to hear how they do for you Zeiss!

Did you plant California poppies? Those are so cool. I’ve been tempted to plant them even though they’re not native for me.

"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25  

Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.


#16 Offline FSTP - Posted March 2 2021 - 5:02 PM

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I'll be putting several different varieties of poppy seedlings I started into ground soon. Would be really neat to get a bunch of these Mason Bee's for the poppy patch. can't wait to hear how they do for you Zeiss!

Did you plant California poppies? Those are so cool. I’ve been tempted to plant them even though they’re not native for me.

 

 

 

No not this year, I did do the Eschscholzia californica last year and got some good results. They attracted all kinds of neat insect life. This year however I'm growing Papaver somniferum var. album again.


Edited by FSTP, March 2 2021 - 5:07 PM.

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#17 Offline ANTdrew - Posted April 5 2021 - 7:05 AM

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Mason bees are out in force in my yard now! I mostly have Osmia cornifrons, but I did see at least one Osmia lignaria. Here's some shots of the wood nests I've made for them. Pardon the bird doo-doo.

 

IMG 9521
IMG 9530

"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25  

Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.





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