We have a colony of... Red Mason Bees.

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DanielCoffey

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We have a colony of... Red Mason Bees.
« on: May 07, 2018, 19:49 »
The next critters to take advantage of our new home are Red Mason Bees. They have found a missing knot in the larch weatherboards on the side of our building and have raised a small colony.

I managed to get a picture of them going in and out with the iPad "embedded video" feature but I will see if I can set up the tripod and proper camera later. They are gorgeous in the evening sunlight.
Bee01.jpg

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Goosegirl

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Re: We have a colony of... Red Mason Bees.
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2018, 14:08 »
Do they cause any damage to masonry?
I love cooking with wine, and sometimes I even add food!

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DanielCoffey

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Re: We have a colony of... Red Mason Bees.
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2018, 14:27 »
Fortunately not - the female looks for a cavity only big enough for about twenty spit-and-clay cells. I think the wiki said they traditionally lived in the cavities in crumbling mortared walls and earned their name that way. They don't dig out the space at all.

Last summer, a mated female would have investigated the space behind the weatherboard, built the cells, laid one egg in each, added pollen stores in the cell and capped them off. She repeats that till the cavity is full or about twenty cells are populated. She then dies. The larvae hatch, eat the pollen, pupate and overwinter. They then all hatch at once, work together to refill the food stores then go their separate ways in the next summer.

No idea if they will be back next year but they are supposed to be famously good as small tree pollinators.

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madcat

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Re: We have a colony of... Red Mason Bees.
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2018, 16:24 »
Ahh ... so that is what they were at!  We have a couple of drill holes in the side of the house (result of an old gate long gone) and a couple of days ago the females were in and out and there were lots of smaller males hanging out ...  It was really busy.  Now it is all quiet and the hole is plugged up with mud.  Must make sure OH doesn't fill the holes in this winter.
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DanielCoffey

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Re: We have a colony of... Red Mason Bees.
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2018, 16:28 »
It probably won't stop them... 8f9mhC-low4 (work-safe)

The bee information sites really point out the fact that solitary bees are extremely prolific pollinators so once I have my fruit trees, I may set up extra housing for them (and for some bumble bees too).

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DanielCoffey

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Re: We have a colony of... Red Mason Bees.
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2018, 17:23 »
The youtube link has been removed so if you want to look for it yourself, check out youtube for "bionic bee nail".
« Last Edit: May 09, 2018, 08:11 by DanielCoffey »

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Mr Dog

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Re: We have a colony of... Red Mason Bees.
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2018, 14:23 »
We've had Tree Bumble Bees the last couple of years. 1st year in the house wall cavity, although we filled in the access hole after they 'left' in the July, and last year under the decking with the nest entrance next to my aubergines. It didn't help the plants to produce any fruit though despite producing more flowers than I've ever seen on an aubergine.

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madcat

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Re: We have a colony of... Red Mason Bees.
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2018, 09:26 »
We had them in the workshop roof last year.  They don't come back apparently to the same site - makes sense if you think about leaving pests and infections behind.  I've seen the bees this year, but haven't figured out where their base is. 

Amazing number of bumblies this year of various types ....  And huge.  They have really enjoyed the apple trees.  I hope I do better than your aubergines! 


 

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