Phragmites Reed Tubes vs Plastic tube-trays for Mason Bees.

Cindy, one of my regular mason bee customers has had to move East and she was so dedicated to her mason bees that she left them with me to look after.  She had run a small experiment in her bee box that I thought would be useful to comment on here.

Today I opened the tubes to remove the Cocoons for storage over winter in the refrigerator.

On first glance, the plastic containers appear to have a good number of successful plugged tubes. When the plastic containers were opened however, it was obvious that mites had taken a large toll on the cocoons:

Top and bottom halves of the plastic containers, The parasitic wasps were present in many of the plastic tubes.

 

I was interested in comparing the productivity of the phragmites tubes versus the plastic tubes so I kept track of the number tubes, the number of cocoons and the number of tubes with parasitic mites. Here are the results:

Number of plastic tubes: 24    —  Number of phragmites tubes: 18

Number cocoons in plastic=108 — Number cocoons in phrag= 91

Ave. number -plastic tube=4.5—-Average number-phrag.tube =5

Mite-infected-plastic tubes=14  —- Mite-infected-phrag. tubes=2


So it appears from this small sample that the Phragmites tubes produced more cocoons and had fewer mite infestations.