Thursday, December 14, 2006

Collateral damage...

I'm trying to figure out all of the things which will be affected when I finally move out. One thing which I'm concerned about is one of my hobbies - Blue Orchard Mason Bees. These bees are unlike honey bees in the fact that they are not social bees. They do not live together in a hive, Mason bees are solitary bees. They are very hardy bees and superb pollinators, but they do not make honey. The Mason bee has a peculiar life cycle, they emerge once the daytime temperatures reach about 15 degrees C., and their lifespan is about four to six weeks. Eggs are laid during this time in old trees or logs which have holes from Woodpeckers or other things. The eggs are sealed off with a layer of mud and "bee spit", which is quite weatherproof. These bees are quite docile, the male bees cannot sting, and the females rarely do. They are extremely efficient pollinators, much better than the common honey bee. My father and I got interested in these bees about ten years ago after we saw an interesting article on them in a local gardening magazine. My father built some nesting blocks and was able to successfully "capture" some bees (none were actually captured, bees laid eggs in the nesting block). I was able to take some bees home and start them going in my back yard. That grew into me having a dozen large nesting blocks set up, with enough capacity for four to five thousand bees. They do multiply well, if encouraged! I gave away about eighteen hundred bees last year, but I still have a bunch left. I'll have to do something with them before Spring. The kids and I have had a lot of fun with them. I'll miss them...

Knox Cellars

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home