Saturday, July 19, 2014

My beautiful bumblebee nest box from Bumble Boosters did not attract any queen bumblebees. It might have been a bit late when I set it out. It still looks pristine so I think I will set it out again next year.

Desirable residence, brand new, lovely prospect with access to a variety of flowers, perfect for family life

I did however get a few takers on the wood block house. The two largest holes are daubed with mud. I'm guessing around the end of March next year mason bees will emerge. 

The top two holes are plugged with mud

 Mason bees nested in the windows again, this time in the bedroom. Perhaps someone should market vinyl windows as mason bee homes.  One bee emerged first. It didn't crawl all over the window like last's year brood. It wandered up and down the window track. When I took it outside, it just sat on the ground. 

More bees emerged over several days and behaved in a similar fashion. They walked up and down and disappeared back into the hole they came from. One bee attacked another. Very different behavior from last year.

Looking closely at them, I saw what I first thought was mud on their fur but I think now they were all infested with mites. This is a clear lesson on why nests should not be reused from year to year. Of course this meant the bottom channel of our window that is right over our bed had mites in it. Luckily they weren't interested in us.

We are somewhat sensitive on the topic of mites. There are many kinds and some are host specific, but others are generalists. Years ago, we had an infestation of mites that came up from the crawl space after we exterminated rats under the house.  On the search for new hosts, they invaded the bathroom counter. Mites are really tiny so it took awhile to figure out what was biting us and where they were coming from. Then it took some trial to find the right non-toxic elimination method.

I sound detached and clinical about it, don't I? Actually, it was horrific seeing a multitude of eensy white things crawling on the bathroom counter. And they kept coming back. Time does draw a veil over things, thank goodness.

When I saw mites on the mason bees I stopped taking photos. Out they all went. They didn't fly off and probably became food for some critter. The photos I did take have disappeared. I won't be so excited next year if mason bees emerge from the windows. I may have to plug all the outer holes to prevent nesting.

No comments:

Post a Comment