Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Shhh Please Don't Wake the Bees

Fall is in full swing in the city. The  leaves are falling, along with the usual precipitation, and the temperature is starting its steady decline. No condition for a mason bee, so what are they up to?

Much like many species, fall and winter are the seasons of hibernation for the mason bees. 

Back around March and early April the female mason bees (that emerged in February) laid her eggs. Mason bees don't waste any time, reproduction starts once the female bees emerge from the nesting hole. The early stages of a mason bee is much like a butterfly, it also goes through a process of metamorphosis from egg, larvae, pupa (cocoon), to bee.

The larvae break free from their egg around late April to May, they gather up their strength by eating the pollen/nectar mixture that was left for them back when they were laid by their mom. Good ol' mom!

The cocoon spinning process begins around June and July, and throughout August to September the metamorphosis from larvae to bee slowly begins.

So that brings us to October, the bees are now fully formed and hibernating. After all the physical changes to their bodies over the past 4-5 months you can see how they need some serious rest. The bees won't leave their dormant state until the spring when the weather warms up to 12 to 15 degrees Celsius.


Check out Crown Bees website for some awesome photos of mason bees throughout the metamorphosis process.

Hope to see you at our final workshop this Saturday! We will be building and painting mason bee houses at Kiwassa Neighbourhood House. 
See further info in the right side bar.

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