The mason bees are busy! They are buzzing around like crazy, which brings out the human instinct to swat them away. It’s good practice for us all, since our honey bees will arrive next weekend.
Most of the mason bees are out & about, perfectly on time with the bloom of the fruit trees. We came home from vacation to find this — the first filled hole! Behind that little dried mud door, there is a series of mason bee eggs and a supply of food for each. Hopefully they will spend the summer pupating, growing, and hatch into adults by fall. They will spend the whole winter in their cocoons, snacking on the food supply their mom left for them, and hatch next spring to be our next generation of mason bees.
We’ve checked on the mason bees sporadically since we hung the royal house three weeks ago. Recently, we discovered that some of the tubes have started popping open. Usually the males are nearest the outside, so they come out first and hang around, waiting for the ladies so they can do the deed. Only very few of the cocoons have opened so far, and I haven’t seen much activity around the house. The weather has been practically warm during the day, so I’m hopeful that things will pick up in the near future. At least some of the bees came out. It almost disproves the theories that I bought dead bee cocoons or that I murdered them by keeping them in the fridge. For the record, I didn’t invent the ‘store them in the fridge’ thing. I read it somewhere. The cold is supposed to keep them from waking up too early in the year. It sounded like a reasonable theory, so into the crisper they went. My fingers are crossed that it wasn’t a fatal error, and that we see a lot more of these little bees soon.