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Archive for the ‘Leaf cutter bees’ Category

Elderberry nests

Posted by blueberrytalk on November 24, 2011

It’s easy to hollow out the soft pith of an Elderberry branch with a drill. Leaf cutter bees will extend the hole with their great cutting ability. Mason bees will use this kind of nest but not as their first choice.

Elderberry nest

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Leaf cutter bees can help with pollination

Posted by blueberrytalk on June 8, 2011

Leafcutters go to work

Some leaf cutter cocoons in their leaf shells were moved into the house during April to hasten their emergence. One little male emerged at the end of April so the cocoons were moved to a station outside. Towards the end of May others emerged as the picture above shows. They are in time to help with the pollination

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Nests for leafcutter bees

Posted by blueberrytalk on December 5, 2010

Elderberry nests for Leafcutters

Plants that have a soft pith in their stems provide a natural nest site for Leafcutter bees. We have helped the bees by drilling out the soft pith of Elderberry branches. The Elderberry nests will be set out in a box where cocoons will be released this spring. We hope to gather more cocoons for next year. Some Leafcutter bees already make cocoons in the nests we place out for Mason bees.

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Incubating leafcutter bee cocoons

Posted by blueberrytalk on December 5, 2010

Leafcutter bees have been increasing in our farming area. The problem is that a lot of their lifespan follows the blueberry pollination season. Incubating leafcutter coccons is a big business in Alberta where the leafcutter’s lifespan is timed with the alfalfa pollination.  They have been used in New Brunswick on lowbush blueberries.

We hope to give the cocoons in the box below a warmer environment in the spring to produce bees earlier in the season. The cocoons outside the box are the control group to find out the natural time for leafcutter bees to emerge from their cocoons.

leafcutter bee cocoons

UPDATE: On April 1 the cocoons in the box were brought in the house for incubation. On May 3 the first male emerged. He was able to squeeze through the wire!

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Leaf cutter bees

Posted by blueberrytalk on October 21, 2009

When we opened up a Mason bee nest we found one tube with the typical leaf covered cocoons of a Leaf cutter bee.

Leaf cutter bee cocoons

Leaf cutter bee cocoons

Then we found some blueberry leaves with notches that would make one suspect Leaf cutter bees.

blueberry leaves

blueberry leaves

Check out this video to see the Leaf cutter bees in action.

http://www.archive.org/details/AlexisTancibokLeafCutterBee

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