Sunday, April 13, 2008

My bees

mason bee house

A few weeks ago we went to West Coast Seeds to get some organic heirloom seeds for our garden and while we were there we bought some mason bees.

Our neighbour Chris had tonnes of them that he used to take around to local farms and our garden definitely benefited from having them next door. He had a stroke at the end of last year and his family has since moved away, so now we need some of our own.

Mason bees are not like other bees. They're all black and look kind of like flies. They don't live in a hive with a queen. They don't sting and don't swarm. They don't make honey. All they do is pollinate stuff, and apparently they're super efficient at it.

From what I've been able to read, they fly around, pollinate lots of stuff and then lay eggs inside cocoons. You buy them inside the cocoons, which look a lot like rabbit poop. You have to keep the cocoons in the fridge all winter to keep them from hatching out and then put them out when the time is right for them to wake up.

The apple and pear trees have buds right now so we put them out today. I'm not entirely sure how long they take to wake up. I'm getting that feeling that I get with any sort of gardening, that too-long nervous wait for something to happen.

Maybe they'll come out tomorrow. I hope I haven't killed them yet.

we put our bees out today