Hello everyone, Rick here from Mason Bee Supply. If you haven’t started checking your Mason bee houses, you should start doing it to see if you still have Mason be activity. If you don’t, you’ll need to place your protection cover around your Mason bee tubes, or remove them and put them in a protection bag so they can finish developing throughout the spring and summer.
The easiest way to check them is to go out in the early evening with a flashlight and shine it in your nesting tubes. If you see shiny eyes looking back at you, there is still mason bee activity — so do not place a protection cover over or remove the nesting tubes at this time. The reason why I say shiny eyes is because the female could’ve died and her eyes will be dull. Also, if you see the rear of the Mason bee in the tube, she has most likely died too. The attached picture of the Mason bee looking outward is an example of a Mason bee that has died. I’m hoping that you can see the dullness in her eyes, but if you can’t, it would be very easy for you to put your finger up there and if she doesn’t move. She has died.
The reason why I’m always talking to people about protection covers and protection bags is due to predators. Yesterday when I was taking these pictures, I observed a few of the tiny Chalcid wasps near my Mason bee houses. These are the most serious parasites of the Orchard Mason Bee. The other name for these Wasps is (Monodontomerus Wasps). I’ve included two pictures of this wasp so you can see what they look like.
If you want to learn more about this wasp and other predators and parasites, you should get the book called The Orchard Mason Bee by Brian L Griffin. He has dedicated a whole chapter to parasites and predators in his book. This is the number one book I refer to, and I always say it’s my Bible — I have learned a lot from it. You can also go online and research this wasp. However, Brian’s book explains what kind of devastation they cause. We sell this book and also have the different types of protection covers and bags. So if you need some feel free order from our online store.
Hope this information was helpful to you and have a good day.