I recently received an Autumn Newsletter from Mason Bees UK, the suppliers of my Red Mason Bee cocoons earlier in the year.
It’s apparently now time to bring the nesting tubes inside to check if they are occupied. The ones with mud caps (two of mine above) are likely to be occupied with Red Mason Bee cocoons. However, there might also be cocoons in uncapped tubes, so we’ve been invited to remove the tubes from the the holder and hold the them up to the light to see if there is anything inside.
If the tube is occupied, the inside tube should be removed from the outer either by hand or needle nosed pliers. Once removed they should be returned to Mason Bees UK for safekeeping over the winter. New cocoons will be sent out in the spring.
So, that’s two occupied tubes taken care of, what of the other five which are capped but look different? Apparently these are likely to be inhabited by Leafcutter Bee cocoons and the newsletter explained how I can look after these at home. Knowing these were likely to be leafcutters I looked at nearby leaves and, sure enough, some exhibited the neat circular holes that leafcutters make.
Interestingly the newsletter shared evidence that ‘second hand’ outer tubes (ie reused for a second year) seem to attract nesting bees more readily than brand new tubes which is thought might be due to a pheromone effect, so hopefully next year I might have even more success.
What a buzz 😉