Hatching Female Mason Bee Set

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Dalantech
Posts: 538
Joined: Sun Aug 03, 2008 6:57 am

Hatching Female Mason Bee Set

Post by Dalantech »

Technique: The weather has been fluctuating a lot, but when it's warm and sunny I've been taking the cocoons harvested from my Mason Bee house out and letting them hatch. They're not all hatching at once, but when they decide to come out it's fast.

I think that this is a Red Mason Bee O. bicornis (= O. rufa), but I could be wrong. What's throwing me off is how different a solitary bee can look even after a short time. Amazing how fast they "age".

Tech Specs: Canon 70D (F11, 1/250, ISO 100) + a Canon MP-E 65mm macro lens (around 2x) + a diffused MT-24EX (both flash heads on the Canon flash mount) and I had to switch to manual mode (E-TTL metering was getting confused by this scene). These are single, uncropped, frames taken hand held.

ImageHatching Female Mason Bee by John Kimbler, on Flickr

ImageHatching Female Mason Bee II by John Kimbler, on Flickr

Here's the funny part: This is a male Osmia caerulescens, commonly called a Blue Mason bee because of the female's blue abdomen:

ImageNewborn Blue Mason Bee II by John Kimbler, on Flickr

I've never seen a female in my yard (LordV, if you're posting here, feel free to add your shot of the girl to this thread). But now that I know they are here I'll look for them. All of the females that have emerged from my cocoons have been Red Mason bees. This male, a week or two from now, won't look the same. The color of his fur won't be as bright, and he'll be missing a lot of it.

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Interesting!

I am curious to learn more about your houses for these bees.

The ones that I've seen before have consisted of holes drilled in solid wood.

But judging from these pictures of half a hole along the edge of a flat block, I'm guessing that you drilled along the layers of a clamped lamination, so that you could get it open easily.

Am I seeing this correctly? Can you point me to more information about this method and how you use it?

--Rik

Dalantech
Posts: 538
Joined: Sun Aug 03, 2008 6:57 am

Post by Dalantech »

rjlittlefield wrote:Interesting!

I am curious to learn more about your houses for these bees.

The ones that I've seen before have consisted of holes drilled in solid wood.

But judging from these pictures of half a hole along the edge of a flat block, I'm guessing that you drilled along the layers of a clamped lamination, so that you could get it open easily.

Am I seeing this correctly? Can you point me to more information about this method and how you use it?

--Rik
I bought just the house and the nesting block from Crown Bees, but they offer an entire kit that includes some Mason Bees to get you started. The blocks they sell have a nylon strap that holds them together, so it's easy to take it apart in the fall and harvest the cocoons. They also have a lot of instructions and videos on their site, and it's really not that difficult to raise your own. I made the mistake of putting my house on a brick wall at the back of my yard two years ago and ants got into it. Last year I had it sitting on my patio table after I had cleaned it out and one of the girls found it and started nesting.

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Ah! Thanks -- I had no idea that one could just buy a kit like that!

--Rik

Dalantech
Posts: 538
Joined: Sun Aug 03, 2008 6:57 am

Post by Dalantech »

rjlittlefield wrote:Ah! Thanks -- I had no idea that one could just buy a kit like that!

--Rik
Yup :)

I just can't get the bees shipped. But I seem to have two species of Mason bees, plus Leaf Cutters and Leaf Cutter Cuckoo bees in my yard :)

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