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Old 03-18-2008, 10:48 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Will Work For Food! Free housing too!

Will really work for food. So I provided free housing as well. I've seen very few bees in our yard and must find substitute pollinators. Although there are syrphid flies that pollinate the plums, I don't see them on my pears and apples. Must have some bees, but the bees are dying left and right due to colony collapse disorder. A friend gave me some mason (or carpenter) bees. Must have plan B pollinators. And they will work just for food. No SSS and medical benefits needed.

By joereal at 2008-03-18

The house made from scrap wood, attached to the west fence, facing east. It gets sun in the morning and shaded by the fence in the afternoon.

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Old 03-18-2008, 10:54 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Will Work For Food! Free housing too!

i have seen more bees in the last 3 weeks then i did all last year. and there have been no psyco bees that i have seen either, like i did last year. maybe(cross your fingers) they will pull through and will re-establish their counts. i hope they do come back well the world w/o hunny( according to pooh bear) is not a good world.
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Old 03-18-2008, 11:13 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Will Work For Food! Free housing too!

Joe that bee house really looks interesting. I'd like to read more about what you're doing. Do you have a website handy? That looks easier than having an actual hive to have to take care of.

Ric and I sit and toss around the ideal of having just one hive. It's just in the thinking stage right now. There are several people locally that could help us. I know it won't happen this year but if we continue to have a slow down on bees also it'll be an idea we take more seriously but first I want to check out this little bee house with cotten thing you have going on!!
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Old 03-18-2008, 11:20 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Will Work For Food! Free housing too!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mskitty38583 View Post
i have seen more bees in the last 3 weeks then i did all last year. and there have been no psyco bees that i have seen either, like i did last year. maybe(cross your fingers) they will pull through and will re-establish their counts. i hope they do come back well the world w/o hunny( according to pooh bear) is not a good world.
Last year there are more bees in my yard than this year. Maybe ours flew over there! I'm still hoping the bees will rebound. I've read somewhere that some of the native bees are more resilient to the CCD and they are working on that aspect too. Some wild bees in dessert were found not to have any of the mites nor the dreaded CCD indicators.
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Old 03-18-2008, 11:29 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Will Work For Food! Free housing too!

Quote:
Originally Posted by CookieCows View Post
Joe that bee house really looks interesting. I'd like to read more about what you're doing. Do you have a website handy? That looks easier than having an actual hive to have to take care of.

Ric and I sit and toss around the ideal of having just one hive. It's just in the thinking stage right now. There are several people locally that could help us. I know it won't happen this year but if we continue to have a slow down on bees also it'll be an idea we take more seriously but first I want to check out this little bee house with cotten thing you have going on!!
The mason bees are gentler and are easier to take care of. They are not as social and massive as the honey bees. they don't produce honey so they don't attract other unwanted honey lovers. But I'd prefer to have the honey but my kids don't like a lot of bees. It doesn't hurt to have both types in your yard.

I'm building up a tutorial on how to build these step by step. It is also a science fair project of my youngest kid at the same time,
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Old 03-19-2008, 10:12 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Will Work For Food! Free housing too!

You're a brave one Joe! I have been attacked by those things and am now a bit paranoid every time one enters the garden. On the other hand we have a hive of honey bees living in the stucco wall that separates our neighbors yard from ours. The wall had a really big colony living there that was scaring my neighbor so she paid a bee man to come and remove them and seal up the crack in wall. Well I guess the crack reopened because another colony moved in and has been there for about a year now!
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Old 03-19-2008, 10:15 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Will Work For Food! Free housing too!

doe your neighbor not relize how beneficial bees are? if you want to keep them in your yard you can make a makeshift hive and half the colony will split and move in. i wanted to have a hive but with my dogs, that isnt a fesible idea now
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Old 03-19-2008, 11:03 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Will Work For Food! Free housing too!

Mason Bees are far less aggressive than Honey Bees. We know already that Honey bees are gentler than the Africanized Honey Bees.

Mason bees don't swarm, and they don't form large colonies, just a tiny fraction of individuals when compared to bees. They live in tiny cavities and not in hives, and so are far fewer in numbers. Mason bees are native bees of America and were here before people came to the US. The Mason Bees should be encouraged.


"This Bee Is Gentle

The orchard mason bee is non-aggressive and will sting only if handled roughly or if it should get trapped under clothing. It is less objectionable than the honey bee as a pollinator in urban areas and should be encouraged. Efforts are being made experimentally to develop large populations of these bees to use as a supplement to honey bees for fruit pollination, much as the alfalfa leafcutting bee was developed for alfalfa seed pollination.

Collecting Orchard Mason Bees

If you wish to develop populations for pollinating a home or commercial orchard, you can set out trap nests to collect the bees. Trap nests can be made by drilling holes 1/4 to 3/8 inches in diameter and 3 to 6 inches deep in pine or fir 4x4's. A "brad-point bit" leaves a nice, smooth hole. Alfalfa leafcutting bee boards with hole diameters of at least 1/4 inch can also be used. Attach the boards to a house or other structure where you have seen the bees. Some protection from rain is desirable. You may also place boards on dead trees or posts in wooded areas near streams where there is a good supply of mud for nest construction and wild flowers on which to forage.

Position boards where they will receive morning sunlight. Put the nests up in March before the bees begin nesting and remove them in early to mid-summer when nesting is completed. If the boards are stored outdoors over winter (under cover to protect them from rain and snow) the bees will usually emerge in March and April. They should forage for pollen during the period of cherry and apple bloom and afterwards, if sufficient other flowers are available to them.


Here's more details:

Orchard Mason Bees
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Old 03-19-2008, 11:06 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Will Work For Food! Free housing too!

will have to remember that. thanks for the info
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Old 03-19-2008, 01:17 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Will Work For Food! Free housing too!

I'm thinking they must have been Bumble bees because they were living inside the door of an old rusty car that had been stored for years in a spot that was never disturbed. They were very large, about the size of a nickel.

My hive of Honey bees seem to be fairly tame. I have yet to have any issues with them, but I do stay away from the hive and if something disturbs them I go inside the house until they calm down.
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Old 03-21-2008, 02:21 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Will Work For Food! Free housing too!

Last year a swarm of European honey bees settled into my flame grapes. When the automatic irrigation system came on the next day, they departed. Darn! However, I think they settled into a more private location in some nearby unattended yard. This spring the levels of bees seems to be "normal" -- although I do have lots of flowering herbs around to attract them.

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Old 03-22-2008, 11:00 AM   #12 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Will Work For Food! Free housing too!

Way to go! I haven't seen homemade bee hive house.

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Old 03-22-2008, 01:36 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Will Work For Food! Free housing too!

Check out the totally awesome tutorial at Mason Bee House Construction

Read it from post #1 forward ...
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Old 03-22-2008, 02:02 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Will Work For Food! Free housing too!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mskitty38583 View Post
i have seen more bees in the last 3 weeks then i did all last year. and there have been no psyco bees that i have seen either, like i did last year. maybe(cross your fingers) they will pull through and will re-establish their counts. i hope they do come back well the world w/o hunny( according to pooh bear) is not a good world.
I was chopping kindling about a month ago and ran across what looked like bumble bees hibernating under the bark. You could see the wood eaten away with the tunneling. When they fell out they just slowly died with little movement. I'm really not sure what they were. I DO know that we had lots of blossoms on our squash and melons last year with very little fruit so am waiting to see if (husband) Ric wants to order some of these mason bees as it sure looks easy. The tutorial is amazing! I think you should copywrite that Joe now that it's out on the internet!

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Old 03-23-2008, 04:18 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Will Work For Food! Free housing too!

Here is a site I found on Mason Bees.

Knox Cellars Native Pollinators
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Old 03-23-2008, 05:03 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: Will Work For Food! Free housing too!

thanks! that was a great site. i bookmarked it for later usage.
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Old 03-23-2008, 10:23 PM   #17 (permalink)
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So did I. Going to build few nests to try starting colony before ordering!
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Old 03-23-2008, 10:40 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: Will Work For Food! Free housing too!

What about the destructive nature of mason bees? Is this minimized by providing a year-round food supply with blooming plants, or ?
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Old 03-23-2008, 10:44 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: Will Work For Food! Free housing too!

From what I have read so far the adults are only around a couple of months, to full nest of pollen and eggs.
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Old 03-24-2008, 07:29 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Default Re: Will Work For Food! Free housing too!

i have hummer feeder, i dont care to keep it full year round for the little helpers.
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