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Mason bees

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Post  OhioGardener on 7/21/2019, 3:43 pm

A friend asked me to make a short video on how to attract native bees to the garden that he could use in a class he teaches. I went out this morning to capture some of the Mason Bees on the cucumbers, and then put together a short video incorporating those into it. Thought some here might enjoy it as well. If you have suggestions on how it could be improved as a teaching moment, e sure to let me know.


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Post  Scorpio Rising on 7/22/2019, 6:37 pm

Wow, nice!  The only thing I thought of was I didn’t have time to read the didactic page of info, maybe break that info up into a few pages with smaller bites?  

Off topic; what are those smaller bumble-type bees?  I have a bunch of those too?  They are cute, and love the melon blooms and stuff on the south side annex.
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Post  has55 on 7/22/2019, 10:14 pm

Thank you, OG. How wide is the wood limb and how deep? Did you drill the holes all the way through it?
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Post  OhioGardener on 7/23/2019, 7:35 am

Thanks, SR!  I debated splitting that text into two pages, or hoping that the viewer would be able to use the pause to read it. I think it should be split into two pages.... 

I suspect those larger ones are Squash Bees, but not certain about that.

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Post  OhioGardener on 7/23/2019, 7:59 am

@has55 wrote:Thank you, OG. How wide is the wood limb and how deep? Did you drill the holes all the way through it?

I cut the limb into 7" or 8" sections.  The holes need to be at least 3" deep, but it is preferable to have them 6" deep. They must be closed on the end - if the hole is drilled all the way through, so it is open on the end, the bees will not use it.  I drilled holes of various sizes from 5/64" to 3/8" in order to attract different types of solitary bees (Mason Bees need 5/16" holes). Most that I see are the Orchard Mason Bee, and the Leaf Cutter Bee.  The smallest holes are used by my friends the Aphid Wasp (plant Sweet Alyssum in the garden to attract the Aphid Wasp).  

Check out the Wings in Flight article, Attracting Solitary Bees

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Post  sanderson on 7/23/2019, 1:17 pm

Informative video. Very Happy

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Post  Scorpio Rising on 7/23/2019, 7:47 pm

Thanks!  I have heard they like the hollow stalks of the sunflowers after the season?  I always leave them, should I?
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Post  Dan in Ct on 7/31/2019, 8:22 am

Hi Scorpio Rising,

I plan on trying to use the cut to length stems of Japanese Knotweed if the stems are in the desired diameter parameters in building my nest boxes for early next spring when trees of all kinds blossom. I am also going to trial a homemade bumblebee nest using a cinder block,  a cement cap and plastic flex hose. The hard part will be to train mice to run in and out of them to make them more welcoming to a bumblebee. trivia, mason bees can fly in colder weather than most bees. Now to see if their emergence is tied to Growing Degree Days.
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Post  OhioGardener on 7/31/2019, 8:43 am

@Scorpio Rising wrote:Thanks!  I have heard they like the hollow stalks of the sunflowers after the season?  I always leave them, should I?

Don't know 'bout that, SR, but here are a couple interesting articles on hosting native bees you may find interesting:

https://xerces.org/in-your-pollinator-garden-november-2013/

https://www.houzz.com/magazine/small-carpenter-bees-are-looking-for-a-home-in-your-plant-stems-stsetivw-vs~39422662

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Post  OhioGardener on 7/31/2019, 8:44 am

@Dan in Ct wrote:Hi Scorpio Rising,

The hard part will be to train mice to run in and out of them to make them more welcoming to a bumblebee.

"Dan, the mouse trainer..."   Laughing

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Post  Dan in Ct on 7/31/2019, 1:12 pm

OhioGardener, after our private messaging about mason and leafcutter bees, I received the quarterly issue of The Laurel, The Ct Master Gardener digital magazine and it had an article on building mason bee houses. So I shared some of the information I shared with you and now I am writing an article for The Laurel on season long native plants for native bees. I did find this link although I am still looking for a reference for native bee emergence and Growing Degree Days. I in no way endorse the company or any of its products as I have no knowledge or experience dealing with them other than stumbling onto there site which has  a good amount of information on native pollinating bees, especially the mason and leafcutters.

https://crownbees.com/

Just click on Learn and then on What are Native Bees?
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Post  OhioGardener on 7/31/2019, 4:07 pm

Dan, if you have not already done so, check out the several articles on the U of Maine Extension Office regarding native bees. Some of the publications have duplicate information, but there is a lot of info there.

Bees and Their Habitats in Four New England States

Understanding Native Bees, the Great Pollinators: Enhancing Their Habitat in Maine

Why Conserve Native or Wild Bees?

[url=Why Conserve Native or Wild Bees?]301-Field Conservation Management of Native Leafcutting and Mason Osmia Bees[/url]

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Post  Dan in Ct on 8/1/2019, 8:24 am

OhioGardener, thank you. Funny how Ct is not one of the 4 New England states. We are not part of eXtension either which I hope to change because of the educational opportunities that it makes available. Here is the link To Managing Alternative Pollinators. I would have thought Ohio State University would have had a huge library on native alternative pollinators and must have but probably need to be an insider. That is just one of the benefits here as a Master Gardener and part of the extension service, I have access to an expansive agricultural library when I need it.

https://www.sare.org/Learning-Center/Books/Managing-Alternative-Pollinators

If you click on the Learning Center it can take you to Courses and Cirricula plus a host of other free learning opportunities and fact sheets.
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