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Archive for the ‘Mason bees’ Category

The foraging habits of honeybees

Posted by blueberrytalk on December 3, 2017

When we heard that Black Locust honey was highly prized we planted Black Locust trees. The trees grew very tall and sent out suckers everywhere! I can’t recall over the years seeing honeybees foraging on Black Locust blossoms. A few bumblebees stopped by. Somewhere in the eastern US or Europe where there is a Black Locust forest and there are no other foraging choices honeybees will make Black Locust honey.
http://www.honeytraveler.com/single-flower-honey/black-locust-acacia-honey/

A frequent winner of honey tasting contests is sourwood honey. We planted some sourwood trees with high expectations. Over the years they have proved very popular with bumblebees. Honeybee visits are rare. Oh well, it’s there if they want it!

http://www.mtnhoney.com/types_honey.htm

We happened upon the Heptacodium tree (or shrub). It blossoms for an entire month at the end of the season. It is loved by honeybees and bumblebees for both nectar and pollen. We have no idea as to what kind of honey is produced.
https://blueberrytalk.wordpress.com/category/heptacodium/

Honeybees will visit blueberry blossoms if it is their only choice! Once the blackberry blossoms open the honeybees will choose blackberry blossoms. I asked an old time beekeeper what the honeybees will do given a choice between blueberry blossoms and blackberry blossoms. He just laughed and said: ”blackberry!”  Late flowering blueberry varieties are hard to pollinate once the blackberry blossoms open. This is where Mason bees and worker bumblebees can be a big help!

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Enhancing Blueberry pollination with Mason bees

Posted by blueberrytalk on October 21, 2016

For the last two years I had set out enough nests to accommodate a 2 ½ times increase in cocoons collected. It quickly became obvious that nests would be full well before the pollination was over. The measure of pollination success is not the cocoons placed in the field but the number of cocoons collected. Each cocoon collected represents something that began with a wad of pollen that was the start of a new cocoon. Each wad of pollen represents 1500 flower visits. Blueberry pollen is very distinctive as can be seen in the picture and the pollen can be easily seen when the bees enter their nest.

2016-04-171

I experienced a more than 2 1/2 times increase in cocoons from the number set out originally. What explains this increase? When cocoons are released in the field some will stay to use the nests that are available where they are released but some will fly away to seek opportunities elsewhere. This would be analogous to swarming in honeybees. On my farm there are so many nest locations (marked by arrows) that many bees will just relocate to another nest location on my farm.

the-farm

NOTE: IMPORTANT CHANGE TO THE NUMBERS  NOVEMBER 19, 2016

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Early foraging sources for Mason bees

Posted by blueberrytalk on April 1, 2016

Mason bees emerge from their cocoons a few weeks before blueberry blossoms open. Dandelions and PJM rhododendrons are in blossom during this time. Here are two other food sources: flowering red current followed by maple blossoms.

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Lurking in the tunnels

Posted by blueberrytalk on March 18, 2016

Male Mason bees have emerged and are waiting for the females to emerge from their cocoons.

2016-03-17-Male-Mason-Bees

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Thank you, Mason bees

Posted by blueberrytalk on June 11, 2015

The blueberry pollination has been over for a couple of weeks and the last of the mason bees are finishing the last nest tunnels. The life span of the mason bee is a perfect match for the blueberry pollination.

June11,2015

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Mason bee in a Duke blossom

Posted by blueberrytalk on April 30, 2015

Mason bee in a Duke blossom

Mason bee in a Duke blossom

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First completed Mason bee nests

Posted by blueberrytalk on April 20, 2015

Mason bee nests

Mason bee nests

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Activity at the Mason bee nests

Posted by blueberrytalk on March 27, 2015

White tufts of hair indicate males. Click on the picture to enlarge.

 

Mason bees

Mason bees

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Mason bee in Draper blossoms

Posted by blueberrytalk on June 1, 2013

http://www.youtube.com/user/thankyouintrepid?feature=watch

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Mason bees prefer bamboo nests.

Posted by blueberrytalk on May 11, 2013

This is the first year we set out bamboo nests at the same time as wood block nests. It appears the bees prefer bamboo nests. Click on the picture to enlarge.

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