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Old 03-08-2019, 11:30 AM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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Default Bee hotels, best time for cleaning?

I have a small bee hotel which has been used for the last couple of years
by a number of solitary bees.

What is the best time to clean it? In other words, when is the interval
between hatching and the next deposit of eggs?

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Old 03-08-2019, 01:23 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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Default Bee hotels, best time for cleaning?

On Sat, 03 Aug 2019 12:52:59 +0100, Chris Hogg wrote:

On Sat, 03 Aug 2019 10:30:23 GMT, Bob Williams
wrote:

I have a small bee hotel which has been used for the last couple of
years by a number of solitary bees.

What is the best time to clean it? In other words, when is the interval
between hatching and the next deposit of eggs?


AIUI, after the individual eggs hatch, the larvae spend time feeding on
whatever food the female bee has provided, usually a little ball of
pollen and nectar, before pupating. They remain as pupae until the
following spring, when they work their way out into the big wide world.
So if you want to clean out the tubes to get rid of the old pupa cases
etc, keep a close eye on them in spring and see when the outer cap is
broken, then wait two or three weeks to make sure all the occupants have
hatched and flown, before reaming them out.


Many thanks.

Lots more here https://tinyurl.com/y4uzoa2y


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Old 03-08-2019, 11:42 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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Default Bee hotels, best time for cleaning?

On 03/08/2019 11:30, Bob Williams wrote:
I have a small bee hotel which has been used for the last couple of years
by a number of solitary bees.

What is the best time to clean it? In other words, when is the interval
between hatching and the next deposit of eggs?


There is no dormant time. Mason bees will hatch and start using any
vacated tubes immediately for the next generation which will take the
year to pupate/hatch.

Mason bees lay more than one egg in each tube. They lay an egg and
supply a source of food (pollen) and then block off the chamber with mud
or chewed leaf. They then repeat the process until they get to the end
of the tube. The eggs at the end will be males which emerge first and
usually hang around until the females emerge.

Any tubes in your bee hotel may be occupied by more than one species of
solitary bee. They will have different active periods with perhaps one
species being active for perhaps 4 weeks in early spring and another
with active period in June/July.

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Old 06-08-2019, 12:49 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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Default Bee hotels, best time for cleaning?

On Sat, 03 Aug 2019 23:42:08 +0100, alan_m wrote:

On 03/08/2019 11:30, Bob Williams wrote:
I have a small bee hotel which has been used for the last couple of
years by a number of solitary bees.

What is the best time to clean it? In other words, when is the interval
between hatching and the next deposit of eggs?


There is no dormant time. Mason bees will hatch and start using any
vacated tubes immediately for the next generation which will take the
year to pupate/hatch.

Mason bees lay more than one egg in each tube. They lay an egg and
supply a source of food (pollen) and then block off the chamber with mud
or chewed leaf. They then repeat the process until they get to the end
of the tube. The eggs at the end will be males which emerge first and
usually hang around until the females emerge.

Any tubes in your bee hotel may be occupied by more than one species of
solitary bee. They will have different active periods with perhaps one
species being active for perhaps 4 weeks in early spring and another
with active period in June/July.


Last year, about 20% of the tubes were used. This year it's more like
80%, which is great.

I'm guessing from what you say above, there is no good time to clean the
old debris, parasites etc. Or are the pupae tolerant of a little
disturbance in the winter?
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Old 06-08-2019, 05:09 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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Default Bee hotels, best time for cleaning?

On 06/08/2019 12:49, Bob Williams wrote:
On Sat, 03 Aug 2019 23:42:08 +0100, alan_m wrote:

On 03/08/2019 11:30, Bob Williams wrote:
I have a small bee hotel which has been used for the last couple of
years by a number of solitary bees.

What is the best time to clean it? In other words, when is the interval
between hatching and the next deposit of eggs?


There is no dormant time. Mason bees will hatch and start using any
vacated tubes immediately for the next generation which will take the
year to pupate/hatch.

Mason bees lay more than one egg in each tube. They lay an egg and
supply a source of food (pollen) and then block off the chamber with mud
or chewed leaf. They then repeat the process until they get to the end
of the tube. The eggs at the end will be males which emerge first and
usually hang around until the females emerge.

Any tubes in your bee hotel may be occupied by more than one species of
solitary bee. They will have different active periods with perhaps one
species being active for perhaps 4 weeks in early spring and another
with active period in June/July.


Last year, about 20% of the tubes were used. This year it's more like
80%, which is great.

I'm guessing from what you say above, there is no good time to clean the
old debris, parasites etc. Or are the pupae tolerant of a little
disturbance in the winter?


When the Oxford Bee Company was still in existence they sold cardboard
tubes with paper liners for mason bees. I believe their aim was to sell
the empty tubes to the public and buy back full tubes (for onward sale
to commercial growers). When the grubs had pupated (after eggs hatching
and eating the supplied pollen as food) they would have removed the
paper liner and removed the pupa. They then would have sold on the pupa
in a suitable container. In a bee hotel there is probably no liner to
the tubes to remove but it doesn't stop you removing all the tubes
(first noting which end is the front), removing all the accumulated
detritus and then replacing the tubes.

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Old 06-08-2019, 05:32 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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Default Bee hotels, best time for cleaning?

On 06/08/2019 12:49, Bob Williams wrote:


Last year, about 20% of the tubes were used. This year it's more like
80%, which is great.


Year one perhaps two bees fill a five tubes each. Year two each tube
produces, say, 4 female bees, each of which will attempt to fill 5
tubes, but not necessarily in your hotel.

Around a dozen years ago I started off with 100 tubes and the population
built up to fill all tubes in around 4 years. Since then I have around
1000 tubes populated however last year was very wet/cold at the time
when the bees were about to hatch and I think that the contents of many
tubes died. This year I put up 200 new tubes (jumbo plastic drinking
straws inside containers made from cut down plastic foul water drainage
pipe). Around 10% of the new tubes were filled along with an unknown
number of old tubes.

From what I've read mason bees don't like plastic tubes because they
are too smooth so perhaps the new generation in my new tubes is not an
indication of population mortality or growth. My older tubers are
cardboard and showing signs of cardboard degradation.

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mailto : news {at} admac {dot} myzen {dot} co {dot} uk
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Old 07-08-2019, 12:32 AM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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Default Bee hotels, best time for cleaning?

alan_m wrote:

From what I've read mason bees don't like plastic tubes because they
are too smooth so perhaps the new generation in my new tubes is not an
indication of population mortality or growth. My older tubers are
cardboard and showing signs of cardboard degradation.


Can you get hold of some bamboo instead?


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