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Thread started 29 Mar 2016 (Tuesday) 12:14
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Hatching Female Mason Bee Set

 
Dalantech
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Mar 29, 2016 12:14 |  #1

Technique: The weather has been fluctuating a lot, but when it's warm and sunny I've been taking the cocoons harvested from my Mason Bee house out and letting them hatch. They're not all hatching at once, but when they decide to come out it's fast.

I think that this is a Red Mason Bee O. bicornis (= O. rufa), but I could be wrong. What's throwing me off is how different a solitary bee can look even after a short time. Amazing how fast they "age".

Tech Specs: Canon 70D (F11, 1/250, ISO 100) + a Canon MP-E 65mm macro lens (around 2x) + a diffused MT-24EX (both flash heads on the Canon flash mount) and I had to switch to manual mode (E-TTL metering was getting confused by this scene). These are single, uncropped, frames taken hand held.

IMAGE: https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1648/25485365863_ef85817f38_c.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/EQ4a​nH] (external link)Hatching Female Mason Bee (external link) by John Kimbler (external link), on Flickr

IMAGE: https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1669/26090503196_db48662841_c.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/FKwD​C1] (external link)Hatching Female Mason Bee II (external link) by John Kimbler (external link), on Flickr

Here's the funny part: This is a male Osmia caerulescens, commonly called a Blue Mason bee because of the female's blue abdomen:

IMAGE: https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1651/25686912900_cf138274d2_c.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/F8S9​hC] (external link)Newborn Blue Mason Bee II (external link) by John Kimbler (external link), on Flickr

I've never seen a female in my yard (LordV feel free to add your shot of the girl to this thread). But now that I know they are here I'll look for them. All of the females that have emerged from my cocoons have been Red Mason bees. This male, a week or two from now, won't look the same. The color of his fur won't be as bright, and he'll be missing a lot of it.

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LordV
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Mar 30, 2016 00:48 |  #2

Lovely captures John
Question - what do you mean harvesting the cocoons - when do you do this ?

Brian v.


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Dalantech
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Mar 30, 2016 02:28 |  #3

LordV wrote in post #17954258 (external link)
Lovely captures John
Question - what do you mean harvesting the cocoons - when do you do this ?

Brian v.

Thanks 8-)

In the late fall you either open up the cardboard tubes (or take apart the wooden trays like I did) and take the cocoons out. You can then store them in your fridge, in a container that will keep them from getting too humid. Then in the spring, when daytime temps are hitting 15C or so, take them out and let them hatch. They generally pupate and are fully formed adults by the late fall. Crown Bees (external link) has all the info, as well as complete starter kits including cocoons. But I don't think that they ship the bees outside of North America. What I like about my bee house is that the wooden trays are held together with a cinch strap, so it's pretty easy to take them apart. The cocoons are really durable and can be scraped out with a small screw driver. Seems that there are a lot of orchards that use solitary bees to fertilize their fruit trees because they're actually better pollinators than honeybees.

Also I think that Leaf Cutters use the same size nests as Mason bees.


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LordV
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Post has been edited over 1 year ago by LordV.
Mar 30, 2016 02:29 |  #4

Dalantech wrote in post #17954294 (external link)
Thanks 8-)

In the late fall you either open up the cardboard tubes (or take apart the wooden trays like I did) and take the cocoons out. You can then store them in your fridge, in a container that will keep them from getting too humid. Then in the spring, when daytime temps are hitting 15C or so, take them out and let them hatch. They generally pupate and are fully formed adults by the late fall. Crown Bees (external link) has all the info, as well as complete starter kits including cocoons. But I don't think that they ship the bees outside of North America. What I like about my bee house is that the wooden trays are held together with a cinch strap, so it's pretty easy to take them apart. The cocoons are really durable and can be scraped out with a small screw driver. Seems that there are a lot of orchards that use solitary bees to fertilize their fruit trees because they're actually better pollinators than honeybees.

Also I think that Leaf Cutters use the same size nests as Mason bees.

Thanks for the info John :).
My bee houses use bamboo sticks so I think I'd have trouble getting them out. I have seen the cardboard tubes on sale though.

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Dalantech
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Post has been edited over 1 year ago by Dalantech.
Mar 30, 2016 02:36 |  #5

LordV wrote in post #17954295 (external link)
Thanks for the info John :).
My bee houses use bamboo sticks so I think I'd have trouble getting them out. I have seen the cardboard tubes on sale though.

Brian v.

Crown Bees sells some accessories (external link) that I've ordered, namely the net bag to keep parasitic wasps away from the tubes (as well as the tubes) and a tray to store the cocoons in the fridge. I'll be placing some cardboard tubes out as soon as they arrive (hope to get them this week). Me thinks that the tubes might be a better option. I got lucky this year and didn't see a single mite on my Masons. I have seen "wild" bees covered in them.


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LindaB
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Mar 30, 2016 03:43 |  #6

Wonderful shots John - fascinating stuff.

Linda


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BlazinBob
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Mar 30, 2016 12:43 |  #7

Beautiful! Thank you for sharing the photos and background info.




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Dalantech
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Mar 30, 2016 14:59 |  #8

Thanks Linda and Bob 8-)


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Hatch1921
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Apr 01, 2016 14:55 |  #9

Very nice series!
Hatch


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Dalantech
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Apr 02, 2016 00:42 |  #10

Hatch1921 wrote in post #17957241 (external link)
Very nice series!
Hatch

Thanks Hatch :)


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BasAndrews
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Apr 02, 2016 00:49 |  #11

Wonderful set.


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Dalantech
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Apr 03, 2016 01:02 |  #12

BasAndrews wrote in post #17957833 (external link)
Wonderful set.

Thanks Bas :)

Managed to get a shot of female coming out of her nesting reed yesterday -had to catch her early, just as she was waking up for the day.


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Hatching Female Mason Bee Set
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