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Old 03-23-2010, 10:38 AM   #1
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Default Stacking tray mason bee condos may be easier to rid of mites than bee blocks

This is an educational video on how to clean mason bee tray condos which are an alternative to bee blocks. I found this concept to be absolutely fascinating. Bleach will not kill mites, we have long known this. I believe you will also enjoy this video-
How To Clean Orchard Mason Bees / Cocoons Using Sand Part 1
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Old 03-24-2010, 01:41 AM   #2
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This turns my world upside down... in a good kinda way. Bleach will "rinse" some of the mites away but.... this sand method looks more effective. The square grooves surprised me but.... the bees used them. Here's the second video,
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Old 03-24-2010, 01:48 AM   #3
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I had to go google for these guys. Check this out, There's a new buzz in gardening. "The wasps lay their eggs inside the cocoons, killing them. The mites eat the pollen, starving the developing bees. Survivors crawl through mites as they emerge, which weighs them down so they can't fly -- something that is avoided with proper bee care and house design.
Condos with stacking trays are the best way to raise mason bees, experts say. The trays can be taken apart for cleaning, allowing cocoons to be inspected to ensure that each contains a bee, and not wasp larva or mites.
Getting mites off cocoons is a big problem for mason beekeepers. The common method for cleaning off mites is to wash the cocoons in a bleach solution, which removes some mites, but doesn't kill them."

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Old 03-24-2010, 09:05 AM   #4
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I think this means we are messing with native bees the same way we have messed with honey bees. Solitary bees grouped so closely may not be such a good idea. I will have to think about this and try to find more information.
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Old 03-24-2010, 10:56 AM   #5
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Mason bees normally use the holes in dead trees left behind by exiting beetle grubs. The beetle has to be the right size for the right bee. Occasionally hallow plant stems will work but I've never seen it happen.

I recently brought my bee cocoons out of the fridge. They were stored in a coffee can, how horrible that could have gone. I have them in a model display case and they've been waking up. I tried to let the ones awake go yesterday but it proved to cold for them. The only one to take off landed on my pant leg and would not let go. They're very timid and adorable.

Unfortunately I had them ID'd at BugGuide.net and this is the first sighting of Osmia taurus, which is native to eastern Asia and seems to be invasive in the US. I'm not about to smash the little guy's brains in though.
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Stacking tray mason bee condos may be easier to rid of mites than bee blocks-masonbeecocoons.jpg   Stacking tray mason bee condos may be easier to rid of mites than bee blocks-masonbeenew.jpg   Stacking tray mason bee condos may be easier to rid of mites than bee blocks-masonbeepantleg.jpg   Stacking tray mason bee condos may be easier to rid of mites than bee blocks-masonbeefinger.jpg   Stacking tray mason bee condos may be easier to rid of mites than bee blocks-masonbeefinger2.jpg  

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Old 02-02-2011, 12:24 AM   #6
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Well, I was contacted by Solitary Bee guy (Paul) in France as we've kept in touch regarding our respective melittological interests, in our respective parts of the world, and he told me that I should get in on this discussion.
Yes, the cleaning method works for us but better yet, please go on Youtube or type in "Orchard Mason Bees/Cocoon Cleaning Using Sand And Tube Method" to see how we really do it. If you read through the comments you should see where the main reason we put our secret methods out on the www, is so those who copy us can't claim it for their invention. It's happened to us 20 years ago but we're making a come back. Essentially, I'm an entomologist (no longer at university) and my father is a retired astronomer. My expertise is actually aquatic insects but of late, because of food security issues, we've taken up the interests in native bee species for pollination. Osmia spp. are very popular and that's the subject we teach and present most often as the average person finally links pollination/food security/habitat loss these days. We're fairly big into bumble bees and mining bees. We're not in the business per se but volunteer a lot. We do NOT do honey bees either but I can answer most insect-related questions and especially about native bees.
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Gord
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Old 02-02-2011, 09:40 AM   #7
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A very warm welcome to you Gord Hutchings.

Please do consider creating a thread for your upcoming classes, Upcoming Classes, Talks, Announcements, News and Updates - Hutchings Bee Service as well as for your bee service in these areas of our website-
Ecologically Responsible Service Providers - Wildlife Gardeners - North American Wildlife Gardening Green Blogs and Websites - Wildlife Gardeners - North American Wildlife Gardening

Perhaps this area of our forums might also be a good choice-
Green Products - Wildlife Gardeners - North American Wildlife Gardening

This area of our website houses the majority of our bee discussions-
Insects, Arachnids, & Gastropods - Wildlife Gardeners - North American Wildlife Gardening

An expert's insight into any of our ongoing discussions would be most welcome. Thank you ever so kindly for joining Wildlife Gardeners.
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Old 02-02-2011, 10:12 AM   #8
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Welcome indeed, Gord - Great to have another entomologist on board! Especially one with expertise in bees, as these insects probably have more applicability to WG members interests than most others.
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Old 02-02-2011, 07:10 PM   #9
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Actually, I have a hell of a lot of emails to deal with through my videos and website on a daily basis, plus with bee season here in these parts imminently upon me I'm quite busy to say the least. Therefore, I don't see myself checking in on a lot of discussion groups outside of a couple that are a little more in the scientific angle, no offense. I'll endeavour to peek in once in a while but if people email me directly, I'll answer what I can or put my opinions out there. I don't think it appropriate for me to post all the presentations and classes I'm teaching especially since...
(self promotion removed by TheLorax)
Cheers,
Gord

Last edited by TheLorax; 02-03-2011 at 09:54 AM. Reason: self promotion of one’s publication, product, service, website, or blog in threads not permitted
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Old 02-03-2011, 09:58 AM   #10
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Oh goodness gracious, no offense taken in the least Gord.

When you registered you stated the reason for joining WG was to, “contribute to melittology”. It would appear you were not honest when stating why you joined our discussion community so I have edited your post, no offense. Actually, we are simply far too busy to enter into an extensive dialog with you as to why our Administration chose to disallow self promotion in all main forums. As of late, we have a hell of a lot of spammers to deal with.

Perhaps you might be able to glean some insight into our decision by reading our posted policy on self-promotion-
http://www.wildlifegardeners.org/forum/forum-announcements/6527-new-self-promotion-policy-july-16-2010-a.html

Cheers,
TheLorax
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