Mason Bees in my garden

I enjoy nurturing the native bees and providing nesting homes for them. Since we have five fruit trees, four blueberry plants, 50 strawberries and multiplying raspberries, my garden keeps these bees working. I like them because they work in the rain, unlike other pollinators. I have some cute bee houses and some practical, jury rigged ones and they both do the job.

The wire one above is what I will explain. Mason Bee season here in the Puget Sound lowlands runs from about March 15 when you put them out until mid July when they are ready for storage. Recently I have learned about these predatory wasps that drill holes in the cardboard straws to lay their eggs, ultimately killing the developing Mason Bees. This year I am using white cardboard tubes placed in natural reeds, hoping to discourage the predatory wasps. The tan tubes with mud closures are the bees from 2017 and the white tubes are the nesting sites for 2018.

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Plants for Pollinators Among the Peas

Every fall I sow crimson clover cover crop to avoid rain compacted soil in spring. Most of the crimson clover gets turned in around February 15th a few weeks before sowing Cascadia Sugar Snap Peas and Oregon Sugar Snap II. I always leave a few of these plants to get to the bloom stage and hope that the bloom time coincides with the pea blooms. This year I have seen the first pea blooms today from seeds sown March 14. That date is several weeks later than usual in my Western Washington raised beds but this past winter was a record wet winter and I feared planting earlier would result in rotting seeds. I am happy that I waited this year because now the peas are ready to bloom. 

Double Owie! :(

This should be my lesson to NEVER pull a weed without gloves on my hands. If there is one weed we need to learn how to identify, it stinging nettle. OMG! But it was in my prized exhibition mini and miniflora raised bed and I don’t want weeds there. Right. But then… I decided to deadhead roses.

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Yes somewhere along the way a bee decided he did not like what I was doing… Enough gardening for today. I am indoors nursing my owies!

Hummingbirds Vs. Bees

I don’t remember having this problem last May, but this year the bees have discovered my hummingbird feeder. Not all three feeders, just one with yellow flower openings.

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I tried several potential solutions for the problem and the following did not work:
1. Take the feeder down for several days.
2. Paint the yellow flowers red with nail polish (someone suggested that bees are attracted to yellow?)
3. Move the feeder location10 ft. (Do the bees smell the sugar solution?)
None of those actions deterred the bees here.

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Then I read that bees can not hover and feed as hummers do and that a light spray of oil will not allow bees to land. Some suggested pan spray and others said any oil spray would work. Negatives about this idea are that hummers could get the oil on their feathers. I decided to try the oil and it does keep the bees away, so far.