Washing Mason Bee Cocoons

After removing the cocoons from their tubes, it is important to give then a good wash to get rid of mites.  I do not use a bleach solution as some do, as I don’t think it is a very natural product and incorrect concentrations could have harmful effects.. I have no problem controlling the mite population either. .. I use three changes of lukewarm water in a large container. Then scoop them out by hand and dry on paper towels before putting in a plastic peanut butter jar in the fridge to hibernate until bloom time.

 

Mason Bees at Seedy Saturdays/Sundays

Selling mason  bees and reed tubes today proved to be very successful.  I had registered for  a table selling mason bees cocoons  and Phragmites reed-stem tubes at the Victoria Seedy Saturday.

gfandmasonbees
Garry Fletcher selling cocoons and reed tubes at his Mason bee table at Seedy Saturday in Victoria.

My schedule for attending upcoming Seedy Saturdays is as follows, also you can follow the links to their websites for more details.


February 27: Sooke Seedy Saturday
March 6: Nanaimo Seedy Sunday.

March 12: North Vancouver Seedy Saturday
April 2: Surrey Seedy Saturday

I produced the poster below to identify my location at the seedy Saurdays.  A big thankyou to all who were willing to get engaged with raising mason bees and I encourage all those who buy my bees and tubes to give me feedback on their experience with raising them.

So look for the following poster at my table above the Live Mason Bee display box:

Masonbee poster64

Mason Bees (Blue Orchard Bees) and Tubes for Sale now.

RESERVE YOUR MASON BEES NOW

Now sold out for the 2016 season- there’s always next year!

Mason Bee
Mason Bee

Many garden and on-line supply outlets sell cocoons of the most efficient pollinator, the mason bee, for a much higher price. I can provide them now locally until the end of March for $6.00 per dozen as supplies last.

See other posts on the Mason Bees cocoons produced here in Metchosin at  http://www.gfletcher.ca/?cat=2

hatchedmason
Blue orchard (mason) bee just emerged from a cocoon

 

Mason Bees (also known as blue orchard bees) can be picked up at our farm if only a few dozen are needed or for significantly large orders we may be able to arrange for refrigerated delivery  within the BC lower mainland/Vancouver Island area any time this spring. They can either be released in late February or March for early flowering peaches etc. or they can be held refrigerated until as late as June for release coinciding with the blooming times of other plants: blueberries, strawberries, apples, pears, cherries etc.

 

phragmites tubes
The local reed grass, Phragmites tubes for mason bee culture.

I will also be selling a limited number of packets of the local Phragmites reed tubes for $10.00 for two dozen this year. They can be inserted in a simply made house –- see other posts on this website for suggestions.

You can place orders now and arrange for pickup now or later by e-mailing.

 

NOTE OF CONCERN: As a former Biology teacher, I am concerned that websites advertising mason bees to send anywhere on the continent are making a big mistake in promoting population genetic contamination. As well as competing with local strains, introduced genetic lines could easily turn out to promote problems such as new parasite introduction and elimination of naturally evolved species .  So be sure to ask your supplier where they have originated, in order to be sure you are getting bees have been cultured  from natural varieties from your own area.  That’s why I would sell only to Vancouver Island or the lower mainland of British Columbia.  I have never bought mason bees. Fortunately I live in an agricultural are which avoids the use of pesticides, so native bees still thrive. My native mason bees from our farm found the first nest boxes I put up on their own, and it is from them that I continue to produce new cocoons each year.

Garry Fletcher: email to  garryf use the at sign gmail.com   (Jan. 2016)

Mason Bees for sale for the 2016 Spring Season

masonlongLast year with the long warm season, our mason bees on the farm were successful in filling  a large number of reed tubes with cocoons.  Now I am removing them from the tubes, cleaning them  and storing in the refrigerator until release time from the end of February until the end of June. I will be selling them locally again for a price much below that of  commercial outlets and they are available immediately at the price of $6.00 per dozen cocoons.

Also, one of my last year’s clients showed me the mason bee house he had made with cutting channels in wood. He also included a section with reed grass tubes which I had given to him to try out. The comparison was quite astounding, as can be seen in this photograph  with a definite preference for the Phragmites reed grass tubes being demonstrated.
2015-12-01 13.44.06

I will be selling a limited number of these reed tubes for $5.00 a dozen this year.

Contact me at this e-mail: garryf (use the @sign) then add gmail dot com.

Preparing Mason Bee tubes from Phragmites reeds.

In the past two weeks I have been cutting more Phragmites (reed grass) tubes for the mason bee homes.  Its important to get them before the new shoots emerge as they are easily trampled or cut off while you are cutting the stems. About one in 50 stems are of suitable diameter, so it does take some time to get them.  This population is one of the few left in BC.  One threory is that cattle grazing in the early years destroyed most of the native populations along the coastal estuaries.This population may have been spared because of the poisonous “arrow grass”– Triglochin sp. that is common in this marsh, so it was fenced from the early times on.

These phragmites are the native variety. In Eastern Canada however, there are populations of the introduced variety that are a serious invasive species.

The fawn lilies , Erythronium sp. are in bloom now so they can benefit from the pollination by the mason bees also.
The fawn lilies , Erythronium sp. are in bloom now so they can benefit from the pollination by the mason bees also.

I have a few of these tubes available for pickup in Metchosin. See this page re purchase:http://www.gfletcher.ca/?p=1

Mason Bees (Blue orchard Bees) for sale in Metchosin, BC, $6.00 per dozen

2015-03-07 cocoons

I am now selling mason bee cocoons which you can  order and then pick up from my farm in Metchosin British Columbia. My price is $6.00 per dozen.

mason_bee_houseI raise my blue orchard bees in boxes like this, similar to a birdhouse without a front. The mud-filled tubes are complete, and they are still working on the open ones. The small compartment at the bottom, with a lid and hole in it,  is for depositing a handful of cocoons into when I remove them from the refrigerator.  This is done after their winter hibernation when I need pollinators for various fruit trees.

A section of 4 inch drain pipe can be used.A section of 4 inch drain pipe can be used as a mason bee house also.  A 5 cm.  overhanging lip at the top keeps the water out. I also have a limited number of Phragmites reed tubes for mason bee homes . They average 6 inches in length and can be packed horizontally in any container as long as it is waterproof.  Limited amount available at $5.00 per dozen.

 

masonbee
Female Mason Bee, ( Blue Orchard Bee) raised in and native to Metchosin BC.

See other postings here on Mason Bees :

Contact: garryf use the: “at sign” gmail dot com