Thursday, March 20, 2014

Happy First Day of Spring!

~ male mason bee emerging from house ~
The First Day of Spring (according to the calendar) started off frosty & cool, but the sun returned & allowed us to play outside. On the other side of Canada, that proved to be otherwise as I received reports from family that it was snowing once again...

I spent some time outside, communicating with the gardens, trying to get a feel for where they were going this year & happened to check on my mason bees. They started to hatch early this year, so I thought it was prudent to keep an eye on them to see what sort of population I might have around the yard.

This house I purchased last year, so the emerging bees are the first generation. Here is a little male emerging in the spring sunshine. Can't wait to see more hatching out!

~ new mason bee house ~
Here is one of my new houses I purchased this year - not attached to the post properly due to lack of hardware & early hatching of bees.

I hope to fix that in the next few days as you do not want to move the houses once the bees start to lay eggs. The females deposit a small pile of pollen & then lays the egg on top of it. As the larva hatches, it will eat the pollen & then spin itself into a cocoon to transform into a bee. If the house is moved or shaken, the egg will roll off that pollen pile & the emerging larva might starve...

~ female mason bee & cocoons ~
It's rather early in the season for many of our local & wild pollinators, but I do like finding them on those warm sunny days. The large bumblebees (another solitary bee species) have been droning around for a while & are easy to identify as they are so large & fuzzy. I hope that the spring weather warms up some more for the berry bushes to start producing flowers so our pollinating insects have something to eat!

Happy Spring!

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