Mason Bee Guardians
Today we became Mason Bee guardians!!!
Our much anticipated delivery of 60 Mason Bee cocoons arrived and got settled into their special cocoon release box. Rosie commented how they looked like raisins!
The enclosed leaflet informed us that the female bees are larger and take longer to emerge. The smaller cocoons are males and will be the first to leave.
We learnt that baby bees leave a pile of meconium near the nesting box but unlike humans it’s white!
We also learnt that female bees can decide the gender of each bee whilst nesting! fertilised eggs become females, unfertilised become males!!!
Mason bees don’t sting but will happily live and pollinate plants locally. The aim is to keep increasing the bee population in the UK because we need bees to pollinate our crops so that we can eat.
The bees use the bee hotel tubes to fill up with cocoons. Each bee claims a cocoon tube for their own and marks it with their own pheromone. We should see the tubes fill up with mud or leaves (depending on whether a Mason bee or another type of bee occupy them). We also have an observation drawer at the bottom so that we can see what’s happening inside - it’s got Perspex on top.
At the end of the summer we return the hopefully full tubes and observation drawer to the project and get ready for more bee cocoons and new tubes / drawer to arrive next year.
How very exciting!