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Pollinator Pack for Wild Bees

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$15.95

Availability: In stock

Short Description

Nesting variety for gentle backyard bees! Native bees and beneficial wasps come in many shapes and sizes and are looking for nesting holes just right for them. Give them the variety they need with a mix of BeeTubes and Natural Reeds of varying sizes. Discover what your nesting bees prefer! Total count: 50 tubes & reeds.

Description

Details

What size nesting hole do your local native bees prefer? Give your wild backyard bees options with a variety of BeeTubes and Natural Reeds. Add the Pollinator Pack to your bee house to provide an instant bee hotel! Each box contains:

  • 10 each 8mm BeeTubes
  • 10 each 6mm BeeTubes
  • 10 each 4mm BeeTubes
  • 10 Large Natural Reeds
  • 10 Small Natural Reeds

BeeTubes and Natural Reeds open easily and safely, making removal of cocoons a snap. Hole-nesting solitary bees and beneficial wasps are diverse and prevalent throughout North America. Help us learn what solitary bees and wasps live around you. See what nesting size they prefer! Harvest your various filled tubes and reeds in the early spring, take pictures and send us your results. We'll help you to identify what is nesting inside.

Construct your own native bee habitat or purchase one of our unique houses.

Additional Information

Additional Information

Instructions
  1. Your bee house should ideally be placed in a location that receives sunshine earlier (as opposed to later) in the day to encourage bees to rise early and get to work. Place tubes/reeds, open end facing outward, in your bee house. Nature tends to be a bit random, so consider adding a few twigs or sticks between tubes/reeds to break up the pattern of the tubes/reeds in your bee house. Additionally, push some tubes/reeds in deeper than others to create a 3D look and feel. This spacial differentiation will help nesting females to quickly and easily locate her nesting hole.
  2. Consider the use of InvitaBee™ attractant to add the smell of mason bees to your nesting tubes/reeds.
  3. Please attempt to keep your tubes/reeds out of direct rain. Crown Bees' houses are designed with roofs to overhang beyond the end of the tubes and reeds.
  4. When spring mason bee activity has ceased (typically by early June) remove tubes and reeds from bee house. Remove any tube or reed that shows visible signs that a mason bee has packed it with mud.  Examine all remaining tubes to determine if they hold any larvae.  This can be done by holding the tube up towards a light source and peering through the open end of the tube. If light can be seen through the tube, the tube is empty and can be placed back in the house. Each reed contains a node that seals off the end. To determine if a reed contains larvae, insert a small diameter stick into the reed.  (Note: a fireplace match stick or wooden skewer works well.)  If the stick can be slid to the bottom of the reed then the reed is empty and can be placed back in the bee house.
  5. Tubes and reeds that contain spring bee larvae should be stored in a garage or shed, out of direct sunlight, mud end up allowing larvae to develop and mature. Consider a BeeGuardian™ fine mesh bag for storage of EasyTear tubes and natural reeds over the summer helping to protect developing bees from pests such as ants, beetles and wasps. Exposure to average air temperatures typical for your region will help spring bee larvae to develop at the appropriate rate. Cocoons within these tubes/reeds will be harvested in October.
  6. Continue to monitor bee activity in and around your bee house over the summer. After bee activity has slowed down, remove remaining nesting material. Store these tubes/reeds out of direct sunlight, where the temperature is cooler - preferably below 60 degrees. This will prevent summer bees from prematurely developing and re-emerging. We suggest that these tubes/reeds be kept separate from your "spring" tubes/reeds.
  7. In October, you will want to harvest the spring bee cocoons by opening the tubes/reeds to expose cocoons and allow for their removal and collection.
  8. EasyTear tubes can be opened easily by making a nick or tear in the open end of the tube with a scissor or razor blade and then continuing to tear or unravel the tube, exposing any cocoons.  Cocoons can be easily extracted from the unraveled tubes. For reeds, pinch the open end of a reed between thumb and end of forefinger, applying pressure causing the reed to split.  Gently pry reed open to expose cocoons.  Scrape cocoons from tubes and reeds.  Separate cocoons from debris by hand. No need to wash cocoons or clean with sand unless there are signs of pollen mites or chalkbrood.  (Read more about chalkbrood and how to deal with it here.) Remove pests such as earwigs, moth larvae, etc., if present.  Store cocoons in a cool environment (34-39°) for winter. An unheated garage is fine if there is no room in the refrigerator.
  9. If stored in a garage refrigerator with fruits that ripen (such as apples, melons, bananas), consider that ethylene gas escapes and can kill mason bees. Open the door occasionally. Modern frost-free refrigerators are too dry at about 20-30% humidity. Crown Bees has developed the “HumidiBee™“, a cocoon humidifier, that keeps your cocoons between a 60-70% humidity level, which should keep them very comfortable and decrease the possibility of them dehydrating. Spring bees will safely hibernate in this cool environment until next spring.
    • Open your nesting material inside. This is a relatively clean operation as you should just find leaf encased larva and no mud, feces, or other material.
    • Look for chalkbrood. (See picture from Theresa Pitt-Singer, ARS/Logan Bee Lab to the right) It may be very obvious like black or blackened leaf material. OR, when the cells are broken apart, the ones with chalkbrood usually have an opening at the top because the larva fails to finish spinning the cocoon.
    • Deal with chalkbrood carefully and purposely. Throw away the cocoons on either side and clean the entire wood tray with a a tablespoon of bleach to a cup of water. Read more about chalkbrood and why it’s bad here. (There are different chalkbrood species that attack different bee species. Leafcutter chalkbrood is different than blue orchard bee chalkbrood.)
  10. Questions about harvesting specifics? Consult our harvesting section for more information.


Please be reminded of the importance of NOT leaving your nesting tubes out in your bee house all summer. Doing so only increases the risk of attack by pests and predators thereby reducing the number healthy cocoons at harvest. The simple act of protecting your tubes may be rewarded by a bountiful harvest!

Bring into a cool area after their season is over

  • This species of leafcutters can develop into a second season of adult bees if it is still hot, but they then produce less bees for the following summer.
  • After the bee’s activities have slowed down, take the nesting material away from the heat and keep them cooler, preferably below 60 degrees. This will prevent them from developing until you’re ready for them to.

Harvest your cocoons in January

 

  • Open your nesting material inside. This is a relatively clean operation as you should just find leaf encased larva and no mud, feces, or other material.
  • Look for chalkbrood. (See picture from Theresa Pitt-Singer, ARS/Logan Bee Lab to the right) It may be very obvious like black or blackened leaf material. OR, when the cells are broken apart, the ones with chalkbrood usually have an opening at the top because the larva fails to finish spinning the cocoon.
  • Deal with chalkbrood carefully and purposely. Throw away the cocoons on either side and clean the entire wood tray with a a tablespoon of bleach to a cup of water. Read more aboutchalkbrood and why it’s bad here. (There are different chalkbrood species that attack different bee species. Leafcutter chalkbrood is different than blue orchard bee chalkbrood.)

Refrigerate cocoons

  • Once you have all cocoons out of the nesting material, keep it refrigerated or cooled around 40 degrees. These bees can survive fine in winter weather, but do best when held at 40. Be aware that modern frost free refrigerators have low humidity and will dehydrate your hibernating bees. Read about our Mason Bee Humidifier.  (Purchase here.)
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