Thursday, November 14, 2013

WHERE THE MASON BEES GO IN WINTER

The Mason Bee with beautiful jewel tones

Most gardeners don't realize the vast number of bee species there are.

I have provided housing for our Oregon Native*, the Mason Bee. I observe, with fascination the comings and goings of my little, stingless friends, as they flit among my flowers, creating a beautiful abundance of flowers and vegetables.

Mason bees are solitary bees that typically use tubes, reeds, and holes in wood for their nesting sites.  Each female is a queen and will lay her egg in gathered pollen.  She’ll separate these pollen/egg chambers with bits of mud, leaf, resin, etc. depending on her species. Each region in the U.S. has it's own native bee, so do a little research to find out which bees live in your area, it will be worth the small effort it takes to create a home for these hardworking pollinators. 


My mother always told me that,  "we should all have something to look forward to, this will keep us happy and alive". The Mason Bees, as they leave the warm comfort of the nest, each individual bee having it's own little space, is one of the things I have to look forward to each Spring, with glee.


In the Winter months, these little blue beauties, after a busy spring, the females will die in early June, their eggs hatch into larva which eat the pollen in June/July, and these larva then spin cocoons in July to metamorphosis into adult bees (still in cocoons) by October.


The vast number of bees in your yard are independent female bees showing up only at specific times of the year.  Each female is a queen, and they live their short life placing pollen and eggs into holes in twigs and reeds or under rocks hoping their progeny will remain undisturbed. So, please leave those stumps in your yard, as the Mason Bee will naturally create it's own home in those old stumps. 




The Bee Garden

Grow your organic bee garden, build a simple bee box, and they will come. Considering our planets decline in the bee population, it is our responsibility to protect our pollinators. Providing a home for bees is a feel good accomplishment, a great hobby, while doing your part in saving the bees. 

The loss of bees has serious consequences for plants, wildlife and yes, human survival.

The bee is my totem, my friend, my purpose.










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