Monday, May 10, 2010

Important Workers!

Everyone has heard of the collapse of the honey bee colonies in North America.

Mites, viruses and unknown variables have led to the collapse of many honey bee colonies. Somesay it is the rampant use of pesticides that is partly to blame. Pesticide use is up 1ox and yet pest damages and losses have the last 10 years. (Food, Inc.)

This little fly like bee will hopefully be the future of pollination. We have many many of them in our greenhouse. We drilled holes in our beams, we have logs with holes drilled, we have wood with holes drilled in them. We love mason bees. We have heard they do 20,000x the work of honey bees.....

We asked a friend to make some smaller mason bee hives and we plan to sell them and give him the money.

See this little guy?

And this mega mason bee condo?

And these cocoons??

We had a local mason bee expert visit us tonight.....

She brought us a gift.

Not only the gift of knowledge but the gift of some new mason bees.

In the time of a short visit Monica imparted invaluable information.

Our holes and hives are not sustainable. Can you see the difference between ours and hers?

There are mites on every flower that are spread by infected bees,

the bees bring them home and continue the cycle.

Monica's hives can be opened and the bees can be "harvested". Then she washes the MITES out of the cocoons. Over and over and over. Thousands of mites.

Mason bees have mites, especially when they reuse their holes.

Sometimes they have so many mites on them by the time they get out of their holes they can't even fly....and the best holes are 6 inches deep 5/16 inch drill bit.

We need to get to work and make some new hives I guess....

Tomorrow I'm going to try and get an observatory....apparently the mason bee life cycle is fascinating to watch.

Which brings me to this:
When we got our lawn chairs out of the shop, next to the mason bees.....l

We found what I thought was cat puke all over them....

Look closely though at the little white egg......

And then I figured out it was a mason bee eggs sitting on a piles of pollen....the mason bee made its nest in the folded up lawn chairs.....And when I unfolded them I wrecked the nest.
Can you say Royal Jelly?
August tried some......spit it out....
We might try and save them tomorrow....

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