I still have about a dozen bees working away and filling tubes. Since all the tubes were filled in the first bee house, I went ahead and placed them in a mesh bag so parasites can’t get to them. I also bought a new bee house for the nesting block (which is 75% filled). I’m going to have at least a 1,000 cocoons this year and will be giving at least half of them to Crown Bees. They will then place them in orchards in eastern Washington, helping the farmers with their fruit trees.
It’s a bright, sunny morning and I went outside to check on my bees. I’m starting to find a few dead bees near the nests now. Their wings are tattered and it looks like they just went to sleep after laying their last egg. I know their life cycle is short, but I feel a bit sad since it won’t be long until I stop seeing my buzzing friends until next spring.
Yesterday, I received more cocoons from Crown Bee Supply. Not that I really needed them…but Dave needed to find homes for them and I wanted to help my neighbor, Jeanette.
Jeanette put up a small bee house a few weeks ago and I had given her an attractant cloth. But, she didn’t have any signs of bee activity. I’m hoping to change that, so I too my new cocoons over to her and we put the box near her bee house and tubes. One bee (probably a male) immediately crawled out of the box and fell to the ground. We couldn’t find him, but hoped he just needed a moment to recover from the hard work of nibbling out of the cocoon. I plan to pop over later this afternoon to see if the rest of the cocoons have emerged.
While the fruit trees have lost most of their blooms, Jeanette does have an apple tree with a few blooms left as well as all kinds of flowering plants near the bee house. I hope it’s enough.
I just returned from Jeanette’s house. It looks like all the bees have emerged from the cocoons, but have flown off. We didn’t see any evidence of nesting. There’s a chance they migrated back to my nests, so I’m not too worried. I did suggest that maybe the nest be moved to a different location (and closer to mud) next year.
Another gorgeous day…and another morning of watching my bees at work. Once again, I laid on the porch just to watch my lovely ladies. Besides being fascinating to watch, there’s something peaceful and soothing about laying there as the buzz of their wings surround me on their way to the nesting tubes. Where once they stopped to check me out, they now ignore me and go about their business…I think they are quite used to me being a voyeur.
I noticed that just since yesterday, almost all the tubes in the bottom portion of the one house is filled. I’m also glad I put more tubes in the house roof and filled a coffee can with more…the girls are already making use of them. I have a feeling that I may need to get more tubes, knowing the bees still have about a month to go with their nesting ritual, before they die. I have another house coming in the mail…I just need to get more tubes.
I have a light work schedule today, so I went out the front porch and laid down to watch my mason bee gals at work. I could have stayed there all day, they’re so fascinating to watch! They pretty much ignored me and kept working. Some would fly into a tube, put down bee bread, then emerge from the tube, only to back in to lay an egg. I captured much of the action on these videos.