Sunday, March 25, 2012

mason bees

most of us know that honey bees collect pollen, make honey and pollinate flowers. and if you are my dear friend, Pioneer Preppy, you have been raising honey bees for quite some time and have been sharing your vast knowledge with the rest of us - thank you Pioneer Preppy! some of us with a large set of cajones, like Mamma Bear, are interested enough to take the dare from Pioneer Preppy and start raising honey bees, too. check out her cool new bee outfit here.

some of us have loved bees and anything bee-related since we were kids. i have always loved bees and wasps and anything that remotely resembles a bee! i can get bees and wasps to land on my hand, head, ear, lip - you name it! i have physically moved 2 wasps nests in my life! and have only been stung once by anything! and that was my own stupid fault - we had ground wasps nesting in our cedar mulch back at our house in the city. i used to sit in front of the little hole in the ground and watch those little guys go in and out quite regularly. but this one time, a little guy came flying out a little drunkenly and smacked me right in the tip of my nose. i got stung. he didn't mean it and i never blamed him. but man, did it sting.

but like i said - i can get a bee to walk on my arm or face for hours. and whenever i have been indoors at a public place and a bee is noticed - i just walk over, get him to walk on my hand and then i walk him outside to safety - even after a 13 floor elevator ride!

i have more bee paraphernalia then you can shake a stick at - i have been collecting bee cups, saucers, tea kettles, table cloths, earings, shoes, purses, etc. since i was born - here's a few examples:













AND i have about 40 boxes full of bee stuff up in the attic!!! i love bees! and my second favourite book of all-time is "Cook's Manual of the Apiary"! but am i as crazy as Pioneer Preppy or Mamma Bear????? um - that's a big giant NO!

so for this year i am going to start out small. i am going to start with mason bees. mason bees do not produce honey nor beeswax. but that doesn't mean that they aren't awesome little pollinators - they really are! you can learn more about mason bees here. so all of this to say that i have just ordered my mason bees, a mason bee home and a book about mason bees from these guys, BeeDiverse. my foray into the bee-keeping world will start with mason bees, while i continue to learn from my heroe, Pioneer Preppy, and from Mamma Bear.

bring on the mason bees!

31 comments:

  1. OH MY GOSH!

    Anything with a stinger stings me. I was in a lumberyard and in a building. A wasp came streaking through the open triple set of wide doors that exposed the whole front of the building. The wasp hit me right in the elbow. That hurt so bad for days. The immediate effect left me in tears.

    I never get close to bees and they stink me. I'm glad you have a way with them if you are going to play with them! Do you even wear the bee keeping outfits?

    I want bees and know that I am crazy for that thought.

    Why are you not getting honey bees?

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    1. PracticalP - you must smell like a flower and that is why all the bees are so drawn to you! for the mason bees, i won't need a bee-keeping outfit as i will not be doing much with them besides checking on them 7 or 8 times a day. they don't produce honey or beeswax so you don't really do anything with them. you just encourage them to be happy and pollinate all of your veg and flowers. as for honey bees, i am going to play with the mason bees this year and get a feel for them and also learn more about beekeeping. next year i will venture into honeybees!

      i don't think your crazy for wanting them even though they think you are a flower - teehee!

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  2. Bees don't stink me; they sting me. You are soooo brave.

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    1. i am glad that they only sting you and not "stink" you - i am picturing a little bee spraying you like a skunk - bahahahah!

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  3. Mason Bees...how interesting. I guess we won't be seeing you suited up no time soon. LOL...though I'm sure you have something bee related to wear while tending your Mason Bees. :)

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    1. Tango - i read all about them for the past few years. back in the city we had all kinds of different bees in the yard - but i noticed a real lack of bees here last spring and summer! once i found out about the mason bees and what awesome little pollinators they are - i just had to get some! some of my veg flowers last year were not pollinated at all - so i think getting the mason bees, setting up house for them, encouraging them to re-produce like mad and keeping them comfy will be a baby step towards getting honey bees. and yes - i have a ton of bee-accessorized things that i can wear in place of a bee suit - teeheehee!

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  4. Mason bee homes are really easy to build Kymber. Just take a 4 by 4 cut to a suitable length and drill holes into it, even a 6 by 6 will work. You could have lots of mason bee homes that way!

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    1. Beth - thanks for that! we have been looking on the internet and learning more about what they like for homes - apparently they like rotting trees and anything with little holes. we hope that by encouraging them to reproduce, they will find all of the downed trees on our land and set up several hives. that way we can ensure that we will always have little pollinators as they tend to stay within a 15km radius of where they are hatched. jambaloney is going to start making more mason bee homes and then we are going to set them all around our garden. i honestly can't wait to get them!

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  5. LMAO...just got a mental picture of Kymber naked bee keeping!! Sorry Kymber couldn't resist!

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    1. bahahahahahah! i'll do naked mason bee-keeping...and then next year when we get the honey bees, i'll test them out for naked keeping. bees swarming all around me doesn't bother me at all - but i might wear clothes. maybe. bahahahahah!

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  6. Most of the skin care products around the Range are bee derived (Meadowlake Farms of Ohio being my favorite all time skin products). Honey is used for a lot of things around here, but unfortunately I'm gone to much to tend to anything other than a chia pet, friends taking care of Barkley when I'm gone.

    I look forward to reading about your experience with the Mason bees.

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    1. Brigid - we have access to unpasteurized, pure clover honey that is created only about 40 miles from where we are - we love the stuff! i use it in our food, and we use it as lip balm and skin softener. hair softener too! for lip balm - i just put a dab on my lips. after i get out of the shower i rub a dab all over my still wet face. also do knees, elbows and anywhere that feels dry. i also put some in my hands and rub it on the ends of my hair after a shower - it's awesome conditioner! i am never using anything but unpasteurized honey again.

      i am looking forward to the mason bees too and i promise to update regularly. if you are interested in learning more about honey bees - check out my friend Pioneer Preppy (link to his blog above). as well, my friend Mamma Bear (link to her blog above) is taking on honey bees this year. woohoo - you rock Mamma!

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  7. You are so brave ! A couple of my kids are beesting allergic, so I have never had the option, although bees certainly seem to follow me.........eeeeeeeek !

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    1. Jane - i love bees and have loved them ever since i was about 4 and my Sunday School teacher told us that bees are God's miracles. she told us that a bee's wingspan is not big enough to support the body and that a bee is not properly aero-dynamically designed. she said that the fact that bees can fly when they shouldn't be able to is because God wanted us to see miracles with our own eyes. so bees and rainbows always make me think of God and bring me such a feeling of joy. i am sorry that you don't have the option for raising bees but beesting allergies are deadly. xox

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    2. We all have some opportunities and not others. Yes, bees are quite miraculous, and our planet absolutely needs them, and lately they have been having a hard time in most areas.

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    3. Jane - it seems all of North America is suffering from bee colony collapse - that's why this year i am starting off small with the mason bees and then next year i will do the honey bees. honest to goodness - i think i saw only 3 bees last year - it really had me worried!

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  8. Bees! They're everywhere! Your firearms are useless!

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    1. 45er - i am a real good shot but i am pretty sure that i couldn't hit a bee - bahahahahah!

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    2. Ha! I thought 45er meant that an attacker coming to your place would find that their firearms were useless defense because thousands of bees would be so crafty and swarmy, stinging invaders before anyone could get to you to use their guns to shoot you.

      You could train them to be attack bees. Start a new trend.

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    3. PracticalP - don't be giving me ideas - bahahahah! i'd love to train them all into attack bees!

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  9. kymber....I love all your bee stuff and you are so sweet to mention my adventures to others. I had to have bees too(thanks in part to Pioneer Preppy) after all I am Mamma Bear and we are suppose to raid bee hives! I am only about 4 weeks away from my bees but I can't wait. I'm building a trap this week to see if I can catch a swarm.
    Onward!

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    1. Mamma - i am glad and proud that you take your name and occupation so seriously - bahahahah! but girl, i can't believe that you are jumping in head first - you go gurl! i can't wait to follow your adventures and hope that anyone else interested in raising bees will follow your adventures too!

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  10. Ya Bees. A lot of people keep mason bees around they are good pollinators. I still want to see you do naked bee keeping though :)

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    1. PioneerP - you have been an inspiration to a bunch of us! thanks for sharing all of your info and please keep sharing as many of us are learning from you! i promise i'll try the naked beekeeping - bahahahah!

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  11. LOVE honey, love honeybees! Check out a graphic novel 'Clan Apis' by Jay Hosler, it is a fabulous intro/info increaser about the life cycle of the bee, great for getting kids interested! And the characters are an absolute hoot :-)
    I found it at our library and loved it so much I had to get my own copy. Fair warning.

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    1. Elizabeth - thanks for the tip! i will order that book pronto. your review of it makes me want to read it right now!

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  12. I've heard that they don't sting, so for anyone wanting really good pollinators around, but are afraid to get stung the mason bees are a really good choice. And your apple trees may even thank you with a bumper crop! (Sorry, if I repeated what anyone else said. I didn't read the other comments yet because I get so distracted by them I often forget to leave one of my own!)

    Good for you, guys! You'll have to take lots of pictures when they arrive. Looking forward to it.

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    1. Sue - that would be awesome if our apple trees produced some fruit this year! and i promise to take pics of everything when they arrive and will keep updating throughout the summer. xox

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  13. I purchased a smoker, head gear, and gloves for beekeeping at a yard sale last year for a grand total of $2! I am saving them for after I talk Hubby into it! LOL Good luck with this latest venture! I envy you!
    Anonymous Homesteader

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  14. AH - that was an awesome haul for only $2 - good job! and good luck talking hubby into it - maybe you, too, could start with mason bees?

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  15. You are a junkie for sure! Love your bee collection and think perhaps one day, you should have a tour of all your bee stuff!!!

    I would buzz by and check it out!

    xoxox

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