The adult bees are done with their seasonal work, being out only from February through April. I look at their homes and discuss how it all went and what to expect next. We look at both the bee cubbies and the bee house. No signs of adult Mason Bees at this point so its all up to the larva inside the homes to feed on the pollen left by the adult Bees and to grow and transform into a Bee. I will leave the homes alone until late fall or early winter. By then the larva will have spun cocoons and are all residing in their cocoons until its spring time in 2021.
I am really glad they took to the bee boards, this is the first year I used them and seems like they are a great success. I will have a better idea of how well they produced the homes when I open them in the late fall or early winter depending on the weather.
In the mean time im laying out sticky traps to deal with the gnat sized wasps that try to make homes inside of the Mason Bee mud cells along with the larva. They will out complete the bee larva and cause it to die. I will deal with those wasps in the winter before they wake up in the spring.
Its interesting how quick the Mason Bees disappear, and how few dead bees I come across. They seem to go die out in the forest somewhere. Reminds me of how rare it is to find dead animals out in the forest.
Looking forward to harvesting the bee cocoons later this year. And hoping the wasps can stay at bay and not affect the bee population too much. Maybe next year as soon as the Mason Bees are done working on the homes I will store the bee boards in a box so the wasps cant get to them. In the past I have failed to remove them from the environment quick enough so something to try in the future to see if it helps. Gives me something new to try in 2021's Mason Bee season.
During the few months while these bees were out and from February through April I brought my tripod outside along with my Lumix GH3 camera, I put my Olympus MSC ED M. 60mm Macro lens on it and just let it record them working hard at their homes.
In this series I will be using a Shure VP83 LensHopper external microphone to capture the sounds of the bees. A high pitched buzzing can be heard occasionally coming from inside the homes when the Bees are shaking off the pollen they collected. And the video is recorded at 60 FPS for smooth footage of the bees flying and moving around. Using LBRY as my video platform, the video I rendered is what you get in playback, so there should be little to no loss when viewing.
Two kinds of Mason Bees can be seen entering and leaving the homes. The most easy way to tell which is which is their butts. One has a plain black abdomen (Osmia cornuta) also known as a European Orchard Bee. And the other has a yellow fuzzy abdomen (Osmia leaiana) also known as a Orange-vented Mason Bee.