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Mason Bees 2022
Has anyone see mason bees this year 2022 yet?
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cmullin
Philomath, OR
34 Posts
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March 5, 2022 - 4:32 pm

The crocus are booming and the daffys are starting to bloom, but other fruit not so far. The plum blossoms are starting to swell. I have see a few flying insects but no bees, masons or otherwise. We had a lot of mason bees last year, but I didn't not the date. We are a little behind Corvallis where we live in Philomath based on bulbs. Just curious what everyone else is seeing(or not seeing yet)

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Reinettes
Lewis Co., WA
370 Posts
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March 5, 2022 - 7:12 pm

cmullin, 

No crocus here, but one of my wife's Narcissus had its first open flowers today.  I called it a "paper white", but she disagreed with me.  It's a fragrant Narcissus tazetta type with small white flowers.  She says it's 'Avalanche'.  However, she spent years trying to find the truly fragrant Narcissus that was in her back yard when I met her.  It's called 'Grand Primo".  Sorry for "the aside" here, but by now Forum Folks know that I have trouble focusing on any particular topic.  

About a week ago I saw a honey bee that landed on my drink.  It seemed disoriented but at least it was alive.  Haven't yet seen another one since.  As for Mason Bees, I nurtured some about 20 years ago and, sadly, it was just about the same time that Varroa mites were invading bee populations.  🙁   One of the first problems was that the Mason Bees hatched out before the fruit trees were flowering.  [This was a second attempt with them after ordering some "Mason Bees" only to discover on their hatching that they were a Japanese species, and NOT native.]  What's a poor bee to do?  Subsequently, I've done everything that I can to encourage and foster the diversity of native bee species that are already here.  The diversity of our native bees is amazing!  If we don't care for them , who will?

I could tell you about what is going on in terms of the native plants and their relative state of development as spring-like weather progresses, but I've no doubt already worn out my welcome with all of my silly peripheral "stream of consciousness" asides.  

You've only been in Philomath for a year or two.  Now that you're "up here", be sure to keep track of the weather as a baseline for what to grow in the future.  I hate to say it, but I think you'll find it ever more unpredictable as time goes on.  

Reinettes.

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cmullin
Philomath, OR
34 Posts
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March 5, 2022 - 9:11 pm

The mason bee here last year did a great job pollinating, then they put the eggs in the patio furniture. They don't sting so it was no a problem for us, but it was an indication they needed more housing. I so this year  I put up several houses from crown bees. Hope it works.  They are so far not active, but I assume it will be very soon. We also have leafcutters and several others. We hope to identify more this season. We know someone who is an expert at bees so we hope to identify more.

 

Sorry the masons didn't work for you. These bees are already here so I hope we are able to have more cocoons this year, they look like blue orchard mason bees but I am far from and expert. I have a grad degree, but its in finance not entomology. My wife has a PhD in astronomy also not great for bee id.

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John S
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March 6, 2022 - 8:28 am

If you can find teasel, they are really great for making mason bee houses.  I see it around quite often, and it almost always seems free for the taking.  Adding the stem sections greatly increased Teasel.jpgmy fruit set.

John S
PDX OR

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cmullin
Philomath, OR
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March 6, 2022 - 9:32 am

John do you pick the teasel when dry or green and then dry it out? We don't have any here on the property yet, but I have seen it around in Philomath.

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jafar
549 Posts
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March 6, 2022 - 10:29 am

At our place, mason bees don't seem to be the first ones active.  That's all sorts of small flying insects that I cant identify - probably some mix of flies, wasps, and tiny bees.  I haven't been able to ID most of them, but also some kind of small bumblebees too. 

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John S
2509 Posts
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March 6, 2022 - 12:35 pm

CMullin-

I cut the teasel anytime after about August, when it's dry.

Mason bees are active before honey bees, but there are about 40 native bees. We just don't pay much attention to them. There are also other insects that pollinate. Even birds.

John S
PDX OR

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davem
296 Posts
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March 6, 2022 - 9:26 pm

I see honey bees on warm sunny days year round.  A week ago I was cleaning some mason bee cocoons in the back of my pickup, in the garage with the door open.  Several honey bees showed up and started gathering pollen off the truck bed, that I had separated from my mason bees.  Bees must have pretty good pollen sniffing abilities.

I still have probably 15,000 mason bees that I'll need to get outside or into a cool spot this week.  Yikes.  But I've been buried at work so the bees got neglected.

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jafar
549 Posts
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March 6, 2022 - 9:43 pm

@davem  that's a lot of bees.  The going rate on Craigslist seems to be 50 cents a cocoon.

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davem
296 Posts
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March 6, 2022 - 10:13 pm

jafar said
@davem  that's a lot of bees.  The going rate on Craigslist seems to be 50 cents a cocoon.

Well that is the asking price, I doubt they'll get that for all of them.  I actually started out with about 25,000 but sold some.  Normally I have volunteers help me open them all (as a fundraiser for a nonprofit that we all volunteer for), but covid threw that out of whack for the last 2 years.  So I'm way behind the curve this year, i.e. the vast majority are still in the teasel.  So as much as I hate to, I'll have to put out the filled tubes.  Fortunately in the ones I have opened I have seen very few parasites.  I try to manage them pretty carefully to avoid parasites as much as I can.

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cmullin
Philomath, OR
34 Posts
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March 8, 2022 - 4:08 pm

Saw a bumble bee today(I am not good enough to tell you which one). Except for the plum everything still dormant on the trees, bulbs are starting to go. Buds are swelling on the various Hazels. Going to be cooler and wetter, local nursery said if you haven't put cocoons of Masons outside, better wait a week or so.(they have a YouTube channel, its been very helpful)

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cmullin
Philomath, OR
34 Posts
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March 11, 2022 - 12:52 pm

Still no Mason Bees so far, but second sighting of a bumble bee. Its a warm (61 degrees) here today but it is supposed to start raining for a week.

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Reinettes
Lewis Co., WA
370 Posts
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March 11, 2022 - 5:16 pm

Here, it got up to about 57 degrees today.  Mostly sunny.  I was wandering around the yard observing the progress of various plants and saw a small native bee on a Narcissus flower (--a persisting gift from the original homestead:  the daffodil, not the bee).  Just a cursory guess is that it was a Ceratina species.  Because it was such a sunny warm day, I remembered to go look at the south face of a big, old, felled Douglas Fur trunk.  Sure enough, I spotted a couple of Northern Alligator Lizards sunning themselves.  This is one of various things that I look forward to as late winter grades into springtime.  Ah!  The little joys!

Reinettes.

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cmullin
Philomath, OR
34 Posts
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March 11, 2022 - 7:05 pm

We have those lizards here as well. No yet though, defiantly did no see those guys today.

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Reinettes
Lewis Co., WA
370 Posts
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March 11, 2022 - 7:29 pm

cmullin,

Your account of the mason bees nesting in lawn furniture is truly amusing.  Here we have a native wasp of some sort (--as yet unidentified because there are so few readily available references--) that nests in the same way as the mason bees, i.e., laying eggs, provisioning them, and sealing them with clay in small tubular tunnels.  They did this in some aluminum tubes a few years ago, but because the tubes were vertical rather than horizontal, I think that they got flooded-out with the autumn rains.  I was so sad.  They're "nice wasps", and they're apparently uncommon here.  I want to try and keep a balance of the native local flora and fauna while clear-cutting has been going on adjacent to our parcel for the last 20+ years....

When I got "The Bees in Your Back Yard:  a Guide to North America's Bees" a few years ago (J.S. Wilson & O.M. Carril, Princeton U.P., 2016), the first thing that I thought was:  I sure wish someone would produce a comparable book on the incredible diversity of wasps in North America....  Still waiting.

I know that it's not yet officially springtime, but by golly I love this time of year when life re-awakens around us after winter cold.  Every day is a day of new discovery.

Reinettes

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DanielW
Clark County, WA
518 Posts
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March 12, 2022 - 8:11 am

I havent seen Mason bees out yet.

In previous years, I noticed active "clouds" of tiny bees pollinating my plums.  They seem to stay mainly within the canopy of a tree, not going tree to tree.   That is a motivation for me to multigraft, or at least graft a pollinizing branch to each tree.

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John S
2509 Posts
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March 12, 2022 - 7:41 pm

I saw one lone mason bee about a week ago.  Cornus mas has been in full bloom about two weeks and the Hollywood plum about a week. I haven't seen many bees on them.

John S
PDX OR

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cmullin
Philomath, OR
34 Posts
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March 24, 2022 - 2:21 pm

Lots of bumble bees on the ornamental plum. It was literally "buzzing". No mason bees so far, but the apples just had bud break today, so I will keep my eyes out. Seems like we are a week or two behind Corvallis. Not sure with the Columbia gorge wind plus heat island if we are ahead or behind Portland. It feels like behind. Are Masons active yet in your area?

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davem
296 Posts
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March 24, 2022 - 3:57 pm

Hundreds of my males are awake and ready for action.  I'm trying to keep some cool though since I'm behind on deploying nesting materials.

Anybody have Osmia cornifrons?  They showed up here about 5 years ago.  I'm trying to reduce their numbers though since they are not native.

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Reinettes
Lewis Co., WA
370 Posts
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March 24, 2022 - 6:45 pm

davem,

I believe that it was the Osmia cornifrons that I received the first time when I ordered "Orchard Mason Bees".  It was truly a disappointment when they started hatching-out and I found that they were NOT our native Osmia lignaria.  I found it to be a rather unscrupulous way of selling them.  I don't know "how to get rid of them" other than to do everything that you can in order to make your local environment as amenable to the native Osmia species as possible.  Our native species need all the help that they can get as more and more non-native species are introduced here, either intentionally or accidentally.  We've got to give our native species "a fair shake" in the grand scheme of things if they are to survive competition from "weedy" species that have not evolved here and often have no natural predators to keep their numbers under control.  

Reinettes.

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davem
296 Posts
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March 25, 2022 - 12:26 am

Reinettes said
I believe that it was the Osmia cornifrons that I received the first time when I ordered "Orchard Mason Bees".  It was truly a disappointment when they started hatching-out and I found that they were NOT our native Osmia lignaria.  I found it to be a rather unscrupulous way of selling them.  I don't know "how to get rid of them" other than to do everything that you can in order to make your local environment as amenable to the native Osmia species as possible.  Our native species need all the help that they can get as more and more non-native species are introduced here, either intentionally or accidentally.  We've got to give our native species "a fair shake" in the grand scheme of things if they are to survive competition from "weedy" species that have not evolved here and often have no natural predators to keep their numbers under control.

Yes that would be a disappointment.

I'm still on the fence about them though.  They seem to fill a slightly different niche than O. lignaria: 1) they start and end about 10 days earlier than O. lignaria, thus they pollinate/feed on plants that bloom 10 days earlier; 2) they use smaller tubes/holes than O. lignaria.  Of course everything is bell curves, so I should say the peak of the bell curve is earlier than the peak of O. lignaria's bell curve, likewise with the tube size.

I have read that they are actually better pollinators than O. lignaria, but I haven't done any experiments myself.

In my yard, both species have steadily increased.  I don't think I can say that when O. cornifrons showed up, my O. lignaria slowed down.  But maybe I'm just not a good judge of that.

Anyway, I do tend to favor the natives over the non-natives so I decided to let most of the O. cornifrons "expire" in my treehouse where I keep all my bees (since they hatch first).  Of course due to the bell curves, some O. lignaria males also hatched and expired, but not a ton of them.  And some O. cornifrons survived.  I am also being more careful about my tube size, not putting out any smaller tubes (I use teasel stems).

Re: native vs. non-native, should we also eradicate honey bees?  Non-native orchard trees and shrubs?  I prefer to grow a mix of natives and non-natives, which works well for me.

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Reinettes
Lewis Co., WA
370 Posts
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March 25, 2022 - 4:17 pm

davem,

I truly appreciate your response! Smile  Yes, it's always a bit of a dilemma when non-natives enter our ecological area.  I most certainly understand that.  I occasionally think about the non-native wasp, Polistes dominula. a European species, that arrived a number of years ago [--I wrote about this in a previous post, perhaps 4-5 years ago].  While they were here, before their ever-burgeoning population collapsed, I was truly impressed by how efficient they were at gleaning caterpillars from my apple trees.  Man!  Talk about your little Nazi stormtroopers!  They left almost nothing behind.  However, I also have the native caretakers like my wonderful jumping spiders (Salticidae) who were probably getting a bit short-changed on the "food front".  

I am not God, and I don't have that much-to-be-desired "God's eye view".  However, I know that when you "throw" a non-native species into the mix, it does indeed send waves of repercussions throughout the ecological equilibrium has has been established over a very long, long time.  Ask the folks back East how they like the Japanese beetle.  Ask the old-timers who once had magnificent, heirloom American Elms on their properties.  Ask the folks who once had a thriving business growing Hazel Nuts.  ...Even when we can't see immediate problems, all too often there are long-term consequences.  I don't know about honey bees.  A number of years ago my wife and I took a class on bee-keeping because we had always been interested in it.  That was early in the Varroa mite invasion.  As part of the instruction, all the new experimental toxins were discussed to "deal" with the matter.  We weren't interested in having to give the bees "medicated" water, etc.  

In my lifetime, I've found that the natural world functions best without the anthropogenic "disturbances".  It's only my personal opinion, and I always make room for others with a difference of opinion.  'Tis my nature. Wink

Reinettes.

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Reinettes
Lewis Co., WA
370 Posts
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March 25, 2022 - 4:23 pm

P.S., davem,

When it comes to plants, my wife and I also love to grow a broad diversity of non-native plants along with our local natives.  [Those are non-invasive species, of course.]  We find that they often provide even more pollen and nectar sources for the local native insects.  Anything to keep our entomological fauna fed and happy! Smile

Reinettes.

No.  I'm not ripping out non-native fruiting plants.  I love 'em.

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davem
296 Posts
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March 25, 2022 - 7:25 pm

Reinettes - yes I think you can tell I'm not actually proposing that we should encourage O. cornifrons nor eradicate honey bees and non-native orchard plants.  Toby Hemenway addresses this question well in his book "Gaia's Garden", and this video:

 

Basically he is saying that the ecological footprint of your food is way more important than the ecological footprint of your yard, thus if you can grow more of your food in your yard, you reduce the conversion of native habitat to farmland to produce your food.

Another example from my yard is teasel.  It is non-native, and somewhat invasive.  I used to chop it down with a vengeance.  Then I realized that I could use teasel stems to increase the native bee population in my yard.  And that has grown to providing native bees to my friends and neighbors, and actually all over town, even all over the west coast.  I also realized that the native bumble bees were feeding on it almost exclusively in late summer, when there isn't much else blooming.  It has a taproot, and thus is pulling nutrients from deep in my clay soil into its tissues, enriching my compost.  The taproot is also helping to break up my clay soil.  It collects water in its leaves, which drowns insects, many of them which I consider pests.  So my attitude towards it has changed from "eradicate" to "tolerate and control".  i.e. I do not let it produce seed, by removing the flower heads immediately after they stop blooming.

If you don't already know the common native and non-native plants in your area, I strongly encourage you to learn them.  At first it is really depressing to learn how many of the plants you see every day are not native, or even not-native and invasive.  But over time you learn how to encourage the native plants while discouraging the non-natives.  It is also very helpful to be able to recognize a new non-native invasive plant.  It is way easier to "nip it in the bud" vs. battling it after it has spread everywhere.  I have actually started keeping track of when I first see a new invasive in my neighborhood, and if there are just a few, I will report them and yank them out.  Again this is very depressing as wave after wave of new invasives have appeared.  All the more reason that I plant very densely, and use a lot of wood chips.  No plant can grow if it does not receive light.

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Reinettes
Lewis Co., WA
370 Posts
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March 26, 2022 - 6:29 pm

Hi davem,

Thanks for the video.  For the most part he's more or less playing my tune.  Coming from a botanical background, I spent the first couple of years exploring our acreage to identify all the vascular plants present, whether native or non-native.  Despite the fact that the parcel had been logged at least 4 times over at least a century prior to our acquisition, THANKFULLY, it had never been planted to one of those dang monoculture tree farms, but was allowed to simply regenerate naturally.  The native species diversity was impressive to me.  I've tried to maintain that.

...But, coming from a culture that subsists on agriculture, "we" also want to grow "traditional, cultural-inheritance foods".  With my innate sensibilities, I should have been born into a hunting and gathering society somewhere at least 20,000 years ago.  Didn't have a choice.  I do my best to function within the modern milieu, although I always need the natural world for solace.  Having some acreage with native forest helps to keep me sane.  [I don't want to hear any snickers.] Wink

There's really no way to "re-wind" on the exotic introductions.  A few days ago, during a break from jury duty, I found a planter with all kinds of weeds in it.  I had a "great" salad of greens comprising 6 different species, 5 of which were of European origin.  ...We live in the world that we've inherited.  We do the best that we can for ourselves, and for others. Smile

Reinettes.

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cmullin
Philomath, OR
34 Posts
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April 23, 2022 - 5:09 pm

Finally today a relatively warm day, we finally saw mason bees. It has been very cold and wet compared to last spring. I have not lived here long enough to know if last year was warm, this year is cold, or if one of those was normal. They are so far ignorling the bee houses, but really like the patio furniture. Hope that changes.

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Reinettes
Lewis Co., WA
370 Posts
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April 23, 2022 - 7:34 pm

cmullin,

I sure wish that I could tell you what to expect, but in the 23 years that my wife and I have been here in SW Washington, the weather has become -- dare I say -- thoroughly unpredictable.  I think that greenhouses and solar panels would be wise investments if you want to grow your own food.  Originally here, there were some summers that were cooler.  Those were called "cabbage summers" because the cool-season crops did well.  On the other side of the scale, it was difficult to get good maturation of tomatoes and corn and other heat-loving crops.  

Glad to hear that you've got the mason bees.  With a warmer day, I hope that real spring has at last arrived.  I'm eager to see more bumblebees and other native bees, who are probably a bit "pissed" at the "fake-out spring" about 3 weeks ago.  I know that I wasn't happy.  I'm not an Inuit....

Reinettes.

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John S
2509 Posts
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April 23, 2022 - 9:28 pm

cmullin-

Last April was the driest and sunniest ever.  This April has been wetter and colder than usual.

John S
PDX OR

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Reinettes
Lewis Co., WA
370 Posts
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April 25, 2022 - 5:59 pm

John S., 

I think that my wife and I would agree that this spring season has been closer to the springs that we first encountered when we moved here.  Springs tended to be cooler and, er, "moister".  The most recent years have seemingly been -- for the most part -- too much briefer and leading into yet another "mild" drought year.  ...I can grumble about the rain, and the cooler spring temperatures, but at the same time I am obligated by nature to appreciate the rain that we do get.  Several years of "mild" drought have resulted in a cumulative "serious" drought, and since we ourselves are on a well for our water, that which has been used must be replenished naturally.  The weather is getting ever whackier, and it's only going to be more so in the future.  I have to appreciate the seasons that will permit successful cultivation of food plants.

...On another note, I was just out in the woods this afternoon assessing how some of our native plants were doing.  Some plants which had been dwindling and disappearing in recent years due to the drought have new seedlings, as well as re-invigorated young plants, thanks to the "extra" (i.e., "normal") rain.  ...It's always nice when I don't have yet another thing to gripe about. Smile

Reinettes.

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Larry_G
128 Posts
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April 26, 2022 - 12:03 pm

KPDXrain2021-1992.png

Monthly rainfall is erratic in most locations.

PDX has varied from #1 wettest April to #2 driest over the past 30 years.

(driest April was in 1939)

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Reinettes
Lewis Co., WA
370 Posts
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31
April 26, 2022 - 6:20 pm

Larry_G,

Thank you for the exclamation mark on my comment.  I'm not adept enough on the computer to find the appropriate sources for accurate information.  I envy those of you on the site who have the know-how.  I get exasperated after "googling in circles" and usually resort to a favorite musical tune on You Tube so that I can calm down and stop ranting about the "modern, anthropogenic world". Smile

 Jafar,

You said:  "At our place, mason bees don't seem to be the first ones active.  That's all sorts of small flying insects that I can't identify - probably some mix of flies, wasps, and tiny bees.  I haven't been able to ID most of them, but also some kind of small bumblebees too."

...That's one thing that too many people are unaware of:  the role of numerous other insects in the pollination of plants.  Various species of bees are great, but there are countless little species of flies and beetles and other little insects (including thrips) which are involved in the successful pollination of plants.  Umbellifers (i.e., Apiaceae) in particular come to mind as a plant family with "generalist" flowers that are visited by, and pollinated by, many diverse small insects.  They help to give us our carrots, parsley, parsnips, and celery.  All these insects play a part in the grand scheme of things.  Our natural world is profoundly complex, and one can spend countless lifetimes observing and learning....

Reinettes.

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Larry_G
128 Posts
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April 27, 2022 - 11:59 am

The table above is a screenshot of my own hand-coded weather tool, using NOAA data that was downloaded in raw .csv form and discovered via Googling.

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jafar
549 Posts
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33
April 27, 2022 - 2:59 pm

Larry, that's the best visualization I've seen.  Love it.  When can you share with 2022 on it?

J

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Larry_G
128 Posts
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April 28, 2022 - 2:41 pm

Thanks. For April 2022 summaries, that would be in a few days. The posted NOAA data lags behind the current date by a couple of days, so around 3 May for a complete April dataset.

Since April 2022-to date has entered the top10 in historical rainfall and is running well below normal in temperature, I will post both sets then.

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Rooney
Vancouver SW Washington
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April 28, 2022 - 10:45 pm

One cannot consider a discussion on mason bees in this context without talking about EPP (Effective Pollination Period) of which is formulated on two environmental conditions that were not plotted but don't necessarily need to be. The two are temperature and wind speed, so If it's possible I would like to see that as data as to try and imagine how different EPP is this April compared to the averages. 

Those are good rain charts and decision makers for pollinators whom seek refuge rather than risk. Another indices can be seen in wetter years is the amount of peach leaf curl that can be seen (ie. one year to the next) on peaches that are nearly curl resistant and unattended. This years rate of curl is the worst I have ever seen on unattended peaches! 

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John S
2509 Posts
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April 29, 2022 - 8:08 am

My peach leaf curl is quite bad this year.

John S
PDX OR

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Reinettes
Lewis Co., WA
370 Posts
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37
April 29, 2022 - 6:21 pm

Rooney and John,

I know that it will vary a bit depending on where we are located amid the topography of our general region but, based upon the amount of rainfall that I've seen this year, it would be my expectation that Peach-Leaf Curl would be particularly bad.  It loves the wet weather.  ...I don't think that there are any commercial peach varieties that are immune to the curse, so my sympathies go out to all of you who love peaches and nectarines and do your best to cultivate them successfully!

Reinettes.

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jafar
549 Posts
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May 1, 2022 - 7:11 pm

I'm just noticing the first blue mason bees out.   In time for the apples, I suppose, but there are plenty of pollinators for those.

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Reinettes
Lewis Co., WA
370 Posts
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39
May 5, 2022 - 8:39 pm

Jafar,

No blue mason bees here at my place for quite some time, and I'm wondering whether I'll ever see them again.  Even European honey bees have been few and far-between, so far.*  Thankfully, I've been gradually seeing more bumblebees, but I worry about the loss of habitats for all my other native bees which are so vitally important.  The continued deforestation of adjacent properties is certainly not helping in terms of habitat.  

While we've had, locally, a few sunny, warmer days recently (few), ...as the delayed flowering of apples and pears has gradually occurred because they really, really wanted to bloom, the weather has returned to the cool and rainy mode.  Tremendously aggravating.  I'm beginning to wonder just how many fruits will actually get successfully pollinated this spring.  Aside from any controlled crosses that I myself make, I'm even wondering what the success rate will be among those, given the vicissitudes of this spring's weather.  

I don't know whether blue mason bees can fly in this kind of weather with these local temperatures, but, if so, I may have to try them again.  Flowers without pollination are just ornamental "fluff" otherwise.  That's not what we want in the orchard.

Reinettes

* -- In our locality, I usually first see most European honey bees arrive when the English Hawthorn blooms on the east side of our house.  Currently, it's just in early flower-bud stage.  When it blooms and the European honeybees arrive, it gives me a chance to assess just what variants are being used locally;  i.e., whether German, or Italian, or Caucasian (--or what I prefer to call Balkan--) "races", or the many hybrids between them.  

If you've got blue mason bees, I think that you're lucky.  I think that they may be one of those insects that doesn't like being farther north than the Longview, Washington, area.  

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John S
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May 7, 2022 - 9:27 pm

Blue orchard mason bees are said to be superior to honey bees for orchard pollination in general but also specifically better in colder weather.

John S
PDX OR

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cmullin
Philomath, OR
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May 15, 2022 - 10:26 am

The mason bees are so far totally ignoring the housing, they have both cardboard and day Lilly. I am on a winegrowers forum. Several people in the PNWhave mentioned there grapes are a month to six weeks behind. My grapes are not even budded out. How this will make the fruit, and the wine turn out is to be determined. The wet and cold has kept the pollinators reduced in their activity. Most of the apples are having later and fewer blossoms. I will be curious about fruit set this summer. Everything has a lot of fruit last year. Is that unusual? Or is this year fruit set unusual? Don't have enough experience to know. Based on what I know of wine grapes(limited) there is either going to be fewer but really concentrated grapes, or because of the delay they will not ripen before the fall rains. Apples and pears are fine in the rain, grapes not so much. Is anyone growing grapes? Some are wind pollinated and some aren't. I want to put in some wine grapes but not pinot noir. That's hard enough if you are a professional and know what you are doing. Brix is no the sole measure of taste but it is a good indicator of ripeness. I tested several kinds of fruit last year(I have a brix refractor) but I don't yet have anything here to compare it to. Hope everyone orchard and vineyard is doing well. 

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John S
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May 15, 2022 - 6:41 pm

I am growing American labrusca fox grapes.  They are behind, just like the European  wine grapes.  I mostly use teasel for my mason bee housing. It is interesting that some of it is much more popular than others, even if they are both teasel.  We had the driest April in memory last year. This year: cold, and the wettest. When it's cold and wet, the bees and hummingbirds fly and pollinate less. Last year was an amazing year for fruit set.  This year? We'll have to see.

John S
PDX OR

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cmullin
Philomath, OR
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May 16, 2022 - 9:26 am

Do you grow the teasel?  If you collect it off the property(see it all over the place, but mostly next to roads) is it from several places. We don't have any on the property but I could get some. Last year the mason bees were all over the place, they use patio furniture for nests. This year I haven't found a single mud nest. We have a stream ,plus is wet so there is no way they can't find mud.

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davem
296 Posts
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May 16, 2022 - 4:18 pm

cmullin said
Do you grow the teasel?  If you collect it off the property(see it all over the place, but mostly next to roads) is it from several places. We don't have any on the property but I could get some. Last year the mason bees were all over the place, they use patio furniture for nests. This year I haven't found a single mud nest. We have a stream ,plus is wet so there is no way they can't find mud.

I grow it but I have never planted it, it just showed up on its own.  It is somewhat invasive but pretty easy to contain with a scythe or mower.  However I would love to switch to a native milkweed instead of teasel.  In the meantime I'll continue to let some teasel grow, to provide late-summer pollen for bumble bees, and nesting material for mason bees.

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