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Red Mason Bee Cocoons

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I have just discovered that it is possible to purchase red mason bee cocoons which will be available next Spring. 

Is this a viable proposition?  Does anyone have experience of these Cocoons?  Is this something to follow up or best left alone?

Views welcome.

Sparrow - Sue

     
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Sparrow - 11 December 2012 11:02 AM

I have just discovered that it is possible to purchase red mason bee cocoons which will be available next Spring. 

Is this a viable proposition?  Does anyone have experience of these Cocoons?  Is this something to follow up or best left alone?

Views welcome.

Sparrow - Sue

Last November I posted the message above.  Perhaps nobody has any knowledge of these cocoons.  However, I thought I might post again hoping that someone can advise.  Not BB related though - sorry.

Sparrow - Sue

     
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Hi Sue,

I’m afraid I’ve never come across these so I can’t help. I’m assuming that these develop in to red mason bees in the spring? If so, my only advice would be the usual around live plants and insects of ensuring that they are UK raised so you’re not importing diseases to the UK population.

     
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Thanks Malcolm, good point I will see if I can discover their origin.

Sparrow - Sue

     
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I have received confirmation that the cocoons originate in the UK. 

Sparrow - Sue

     
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I bought some of these online from http://www.birdfood.co.uk during winter 2011/12. They arrived promptly and I put them out in a special bee nest that I’ve had for a while (I purchased it from the excellent Oxford Bee Company before that sadly went bust).

A few, maybe about one third of the 20 cocoons, hatched, and for a while red mason bees were a common sight in my garden in spring 2012. However that year the weather was awful, some early sun was replaced by lots of rain and I don’t think the bees did very well. Only two of the tubes got filled up by the bees. I’m hoping that these two might hatch later this year but in any case I’ve decided to buy some more cocoons and hope for better results this year.

     
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Thank you for your information.  This is where I noticed the cocoons for sale and, asI said in my previous message, they are confirmed to be from the UK.

I have not bought any yet but probably will do now I know they are not “foreigners”.

Sparrow - Sue

     
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Sparrow - 22 February 2013 10:43 AM
Sparrow - 11 December 2012 11:02 AM

I have just discovered that it is possible to purchase red mason bee cocoons which will be available next Spring. 

Is this a viable proposition?  Does anyone have experience of these Cocoons?  Is this something to follow up or best left alone?

Views welcome.

Sparrow - Sue

Last November I posted the message above.  Perhaps nobody has any knowledge of these cocoons.  However, I thought I might post again hoping that someone can advise.  Not BB related though - sorry.

Sparrow - Sue

I bought 15 red mason bee cocoons from CJ Wildbirdfood cost £20 and none hatched out so would advise not to waste your money.

Best thing is to get a nest either make it yourself or buy one then fill it with tubes and hope wild bees will use it.

     
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Hi Keith
Thank you for that interesting information.  Luckily I did not purchase any Cocoons as my partner is busy making me a range of recepticles for bee tubes.  I have some of the purchased/professional ones plus other dried stems etc.

Sparrow - Sue

     
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Thank you for the interesting thread. I have a lot to learn about solitary bees but I beleve they are excellent pollinators of some fruit trees. If you live into the right part of the UK you can easily attract mason bees and leaf cutter bees by placing out tubes of different sizes in spring. Don’t have to buy them. Homemade ones do well. Also saves you the expense of buying the cocoons. The mason bees also need access to damp mud as they use this to seal the nest off so the young are secure when growing and hibernating.

     
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Hi
I am a wildlife Gardener and by rule of thumb avoid the purchase of ‘wildlife’ - ladybirds; bees etc as the failure rate far outweighs the successes. The ideal option and the one that let’s nature take its course, is to purchase the cardboard tubes (not the bamboo ones) and place these compactly in a suitable receptacle such as types of architectural salvage bricks or pot piping for example. It is always best and more pleasurable to let nature take its course and the bees find your back garden haven. The weather has been extremely unkind with heavier downfalls than normal and stronger winds but they 70% of the Masons manage to survive year on year in my small garden. In my experience, it is imperative to provide a varied selection of local nectar rich wildflowers and preferably a native selection of nectar and pollen producing plants for a minimum of 8 months of the year, certainly during the breeding/feeding glut of summer but please spare a thought for other species of bee that can be found throughout much of the year.
I hope this does not sound too much like I am preaching to the converted!
Good luck.

     
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I have been a long-time ‘supporter’ of Oxford Bee Co kit and its subsequent ‘takeover’ by CJ Wildfoods. I used to send in 50% of my tubes for their project research. I started in 2002. In my own garden I have had as many as 450 tubes filled in one year. I am alsp a professional wildlife-friendly gardener and have put nests up in 7 of my clents gardens. You do get different rates of take-up so be patient. CJ also used to send me a ‘complimentary’cocoon’ tube as thanks for my support - first year 15/20 hatched, the 2nd year all of them did. I don’t know if the cocoons are the same ones people like me send in but I did think the price was extortionate.

One problem - you do need to keep refreshing the tubes. The paper inserts do deteriote and if you remove the paper, the tubes did still get used but not as much. CJ put their prices of 100 tubes up from £7.99 to £22.99 this year - due to a stock-pricing error of some 5 years !!!

2012 & 13 have both been poor springs for the Red Mason Bee. In my own garden and 6 of my clients, nest tube numbers were down. Only in one garden did a 29 tubes nest get completely refilled. Leafcutter bees are doing very well though. They will use both paper-filled and paper-less cardboard tubes, as well as any other DIY nest ; ie bamboo canes, holes in walls,logs,garden furniture !

     
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Sorry for dragging up an old thread, but I thought I would chip in here a little bit.

Last spring (2013) I bought 30 red mason bee cocoons from CJ wildlife after checking they were “local” bees. I also bought a solitary bee nester from dragonfli and filled it with cardboard tubes.

I didn’t keep exact records but about 25 of my 30 cocoons hatched by around May.

I “harvested” the newly created cocoons in February of this year of which I have about 50. So the 6 females I counted originally had worked quite hard considering the awful weather we had last year, but pretty pleasing in that my yield had more than doubled. Hopefully this year I will get double again and be harvesting around 100 cocoons next winter?

So I guess it really depends. Good flowers and a ready supply of the muddy stuff nearby really helps.

     
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I bought these bee cocoons two years ago and most of them hatched. The bees were very busy in the area around our fruit trees and we had a bumper harvest which I’m sure was down to the bees! They then filled all the tubes in the nesting boxes I’d left there and last year we had lots of new bees. I over- wintered the nesting boxes in the garage to stop birds pecking at them but put them outside around late March. Then had the same results last year - just waiting now for this years new arrivals!

     
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Hello , when you say ‘harvested’ what do you mean

     
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Hi all,

I have managed red mason bee cocoons from my garden for over 20 years and learnt a lot, from many failures, wrong choices of bought nest boxes, pests, predators etc.

I have complied a useful resource which due to the internet and modern technology I can share information via my web site, http://www.nurturing-nature.co.uk From .the articles section where you can see red mason and solitary bees.

You are very welcome to browse through it. I feel sure you may learn quite a lot.

From personal knowledge, experience, And a conversation with the person whom used to run CJ I personally would not purchase cocoons from CJ.

Cheers, George Pilkington