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Rivajam Native Bee Observatory Care

Caring for and Keeping your Mason Bees

Spring/Summer – Setting Up Your Native Bee Observatory

Ready to host some buzzing guests? Position your Native Bee Observatory in a sunny spot, preferably facing southeast or south, about 3.3 – 6.5ft (1-2 meters) above the ground. Ensure there are no trees or plants obstructing the entrances for a clear flight path.

Your Observatory comes pre-coated with a water-repelling wax, but even so, try to find a place out of direct rainfall like under an overhang. Remember, stability is vital; the Observatory should not sway in the wind, so fix it securely using the provided mounting hooks at the back. Take a moment to measure the distance between these hooks before you get down to drilling.

Native bees, living solitary lives and being cold-blooded, rely on the sun’s warmth to start their day. A sunny site is essential to make the Observatory inviting for these tiny creatures.

Fall/Winter – Harvesting and Safeguarding the Cocoons

When your Observatory is brimming with bee cocoons, you have the choice of leaving it as is. However, for enhanced population growth, consider gently harvesting the cocoons or moving the entire Observatory to a predator-protected storage area. You can place the harvested cocoons in a sealed paper bag, cardboard box, or a ventilated plastic container.

During their development, cocoons need a well-ventilated space with summer-like warmth. As winter sets in, relocate them to a cool, dry spot such as an unheated garden shed. Maintain a winter temperature above -12C to ensure the bees’ survival, but remember if it gets too warm, they might hatch prematurely without suitable food available.

Next Spring – Kick-starting the Cycle Again

When spring starts afresh, put your Native Bee Observatory back outside in its sunny spot, ready for the cocoons to hatch. Once the hatching concludes, it’s crucial to clean the Observatory quickly (you’ll find a cleaning brush included) to help prevent the growth of parasites harmful to the new cocoons.

If you harvested the cocoons last season, all you need to do is reinstall the cleaned Native Bee Observatory and place the cocoons nearby, preferably in a cocoon release box. This provides protection from predators until the cocoons have a chance to hatch.

Did You Know?

  • Most native bees are non-aggressive, and are too small to have an effective sting; however it’s always a good idea to observe from a safe distance, and let an adult handle the Bee House when it’s in use by the bees.
  • It takes a month for a native bee to lay all her eggs. Each nesting tube can be a single home for as many as 10 to 12 babies from one mother bee!
  • There are hundreds and hundreds of different types of native bees in every country! Chances are, no matter where you live, you probably have these helpful bees flying around looking for a suitable place to nest.
  • Native bees are nature’s super­pollinator. These friendly bees can help the plants and trees in your garden come alive with flowers!
  • Bees’ wings move like helicopter blades. They fly an average of 15 miles (24km) per hour and their wings flap at 200 beats per second.