For those interested in mason bees for pollinating, I'm building a house for them

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I looked yesterday, and there were 3 of those holes in the house with something in them - hopefully, the bees! And today, one more.
 
Hey Pep, thanks for the link, it was an interesting watch.
I have to rewatch it, cause I Watched it while I was tired, and im sure I missed a few things, which leads me to a few questions I got for you.

1) If I purchase a mason bee house ( I dont have the time or equipment to build myself for this year), Is it too late ? Are they still shipping the Bee Cocoons ? or os there a window that I may have missed>

2) Once you get thee cocoons, where do you actually placed them ? do you stuff them in the holes? Again, I was dozing off so I may have missed this part.

Thanks, Im sure Ill bother you with a few other questions after I watch it again.

A few question s
 
Sorry I missed this, Larry. Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to have turned out so well. Some of the cocoons don't seem to have hatched, and only 5 of those holes seem to have anything in them, and only one thing - might not even be from a mason bee! I just put them all of the cocoons on the ledge, and I could see them moving, and eventually opening up, and the bees would soon fly away. And though I sprayed attractant on the house several times, I never saw any hanging around the house. I saw a few leave, when some cocoons hatched, but never saw them come back. Hopefully, it will work better in my second year, when I'll try it a little earlier. It's too late now, to get more.
 
Thanks for the info. Originally I wanted to try my luck at honey bees. They offer Beekeeper courses, but its more effort than I want too put in at this point, Then, while at the Philly Flower Show 2 years ago, one of the lecturers was from a company that basically sets up your hive and provides monthly maintenance. Kinda sounded liken interesting concept, and I was tempted, but thought it out, and figured if I wasn't going to give it %100 myself, what's the point . truly wanted as a hobby. So then when I saw/ read your thing about the mason bees , sounded like a great way to pollinate my garden, at a relatively low investment ( I'd purchase everything, I dont have the equipment to make what you made ( which is fantastic, and I wish I did have a shop set up like yours. All I have at the moment is a bunch of saws and other tools that I purchase when I have a specific project, they wind up in the garage somewhere, and I have to go on a scavenger hunt when ever I need it again for another project, cant find it, buy another one, then find it after ive already opened up and used the second one. This sometimes goes for tools also. Its amazing how many hammers , wrenches and screw drivers I found when I cleaned up the garage this spring. Off topic, but my fall project is to, at the very least, convert part of my garage into an official and organized workshop. Anyway, where was I . oh yeah, m considering buying a mason. leaf cutter bee house ( I saw the link off that video you posted). I saw its too late for the mason bees but leaf cutters Im right on target. I figure at this point, all I got to lose is a little set up time and a few bucks. hopefully your mason bees find their way home and take residence in your masterpiece of a mason bee house.

While I got your attention, My pathetic, Charlie Brown Christmas tree - like curry leaf plant has actually come back to life sprouting multiple branches , and therefore leaves. There is no way Ill use al the leaves this thing is going to produce, so my question is, can they be dried and used at a later date ? or is there another way to preserve them for future use?
 
I was also thinking about the leaf-cutter bees - the houses for those have slightly smaller holes. I'll have to look into those more if the mason bees don't work out next year.

As for the curry leaves, once I got the plant growing well, I really had no reason to save the leaves that I trimmed - why would I use dried leaves, when I always have fresh? All the excess I take to an Indian grocery - usually a plastic grocery bag stuffed with them! The guy there always gives me some things in return - it's a takeout place, too, and it definitely specializes in spicy, southern Indian foods. He loves getting them, since they are so fresh, and he and the cook there split them, to take home.

I take all that excess red epazote up to the Mexican grocery/restaurant owner here in town, and he loves getting those, too, and repays me well for that. The first time he saw that he couldn't believe I had it, telling me that the red variety wasn't available all the time, back where he came from, and was definitely the best. Unfortunately, I don't know anyone I can give all those excess kaffir lime leaves to, and I have more of that than anything else! And, like I said, since I have it fresh 365 days a year, so no sense drying it.
 
As for the curry leaves, once I got the plant growing well, I really had no reason to save the leaves that I trimmed - why would I use dried leaves, when I always have fresh?
I have a bay tree that's over 10 feet tall and I dry the leaves before using them because evaporating the water out of them intensifies the flavor.

And, bees get all the attention, but there are lots of other pollinators. I bet some critters will find a home in your mason bee house.
 
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GG, I have a bay laurel plant, too, and I dry some of those, but use some fresh - the flavor is different, for sure, but both are good. Sage is another like that, with one of the two major flavor components being more volatile, and much of it is lost, giving a different flavor, but both good. And IMO, oregano, and other Origanum species I've grown, seem to taste better dried! Thyme seems as good dried as fresh. Rosemary and mint are OK dried, for some things, but they lose some of the flavor that is only in the fresh. But the curry leaves, kaffir lime leaves, basils, epazote, tarragon, cilantro, parsley, and a number of the other Asian herbs I've grown, simply aren't like the fresh, once dried, IMO. I can't believe they still sell some things dried, with them available fresh almost everywhere!

One method for saving herbs, with a nearly fresh flavor, is salt layering. Just put a layer of leaves in a jar, sprinkle a layer of kosher salt over them, then put 3 or 4 more layers on it, repeating, until you use them up. I used to do this with epazote and tarragon, and the first year growing the curry, when a lady I knew gave me a bunch of her plant.
 
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GG, I have a bay laurel plant, too, and I dry some of those, but use some fresh - the flavor is different, for sure, but both are good. Sage is another like that, with one of the two major flavor components being more volatile, and much of it is lost, giving a different flavor, but both good. And IMO, oregano, and other Origanum species I've grown, seem to taste better dried! Thyme seems as good dried as fresh. Rosemary and mint are OK dried, for some things, but they lose some of the flavor that is only in the fresh. But the curry leaves, kaffir lime leaves, basils, epazote, tarragon, cilantro, parsley, and a number of the other Asian herbs I've grown, simply aren't like the fresh, once dried, IMO. I can't believe they still sell some things dried, with them available fresh almost everywhere!

One method for saving herbs, with a nearly fresh flavor, is salt layering. Just put a layer of leaves in a jar, sprinkle a layer of kosher salt over them, then put 3 or 4 more layers on it, repeating, until you use them up. I used to do this with epazote and tarragon, and the first year growing the curry, when a lady I knew gave me a bunch of her plant.
I'm surprised you're able to keep a bay laurel healthy in your climate. :cool:

Yes, in general, the woody herbs maintain more flavor when they're dried and soft herbs don't - the soft ones have more volatile flavor components (I created a presentation on growing and preserving herbs during my master gardener training). I have an extensive herb garden, so I can choose fresh or dried woody herbs as desired. Also, I don't expect dried herbs to taste like fresh. I have a recipe for a flour dredge for sautéed fish that includes dried basil and it's good.

I've preserved mixed herbs with the salt method, but I don't usually want that much salt when I use them. So I blitz them in the blender with water, freeze the mixture in ice cube trays and keep them in plastic bags. I'm still using cilantro from last year [emoji38] I know I'm fortunate to have a lot of freezer space, but that's intentional since I preserve a lot of food from the garden and don't always have the energy to can it.
 
My issue with the curry plant is that it has a near death experience each year. I just don't have any good sunny windows in the house where I can put it, and thee artificial lights work with some of my plants I bring in, but not the curry . So I figure, if this thing starts to produce, I can dry them for use over the winter and colder months.
 
My issue with the curry plant is that it has a near death experience each year. I just don't have any good sunny windows in the house where I can put it, and thee artificial lights work with some of my plants I bring in, but not the curry . So I figure, if this thing starts to produce, I can dry them for use over the winter and colder months.

I would freeze them.
 
Purchased a mason/ leaf cutter bee house online. Just got it yesterday. going to hang it tomorrow and bees ( leaf cutters) should arrive next week. I may even hook up a camera so I can watch them do their thing. Hopefully they decide to stick around.
 
Good luck with the bees, Larry! I'll be curious to find out how they do.

I'm getting an incredible number of bumblebees and other bees out in the garden, but still no more mason bees.
 
Bee house came last week, got it up. Bees came today, got them out. Some were 'hatched' already so watched them take off into the garden. The rest will likely jump ship over the next few days. Hoping they stick around ( Leaf Cutters). If all goes well, I may take a shot at making a mason bee house over the winter for next year.
 

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I'm anxious to find out how these work for you, Larry! I hope they The reason I went for the mason bees was because they are earlier, and by about mid-June, I'm usually loaded with bumblebees, as well as a lot of honeybees. Still, you can't have too many bees, and I'd add the leaf eaters next season, if they seem to work out.
 
I would have went for Mason if I knew about them. Thanks to you, I at least was able to jump on board with the leaf cutters. Their range is only about 300 ft. Know what my yard looks like compared to my adjacent neighbors, I dont see any reason why the bees would want to ( or have to ) leave. So, barring predators or rogue bees, Im hopeful that they stick around. Although, the literature says the leaf cutters are more likely to disperse than the mason. We'll see. Still a good investment and learning experience. I release praying mantises every year, and out of the 100 - 400 that are released , maybe I see 1 or two by the ends of the season. But I do it every year. I figured if they're not helping me out, they'e at least helping the general area out. ( and they're cool too)
 
Leaf cutter bee / bee house update. So last Wednesday evening I released theses / Cocoons in thee house. Of thee 200 Cocoons, I'd say 50 of them have hatched. Instructions informed me to place them in the fridge for about 15 minutes for so to make them inactive before releasing them, which I did. After releasing them we watched the few that had hatched exit the house and start flying off. The next morning, and every morning after that, you can see others flying from the house and into the garden. They are significantly smaller than bumble bees and have a more chaotic flight pattern. Also, those boogers are real fast!!!. They are very easy to identify from other flying insects, just by the speed and pattern of their flight. Anyway, this morning we noticed at least 5 bees entering the little holes. Due to their small size and wicked speed, it was hard , if not impossible , to see if they had any pieces of leaves with them. But just seeing them enter the little holes gave us hope that they would stick around.
 
Glad to hear this, Larry! They should help with all those plants out there. Hopefully, you will have them for next year, as well.
 
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Hope so too. As long as this works out, My winter project will be making a Mason Bee house. Not as elaborate as yours Just something simpler, and when I purchase they bees, Ill get the Mason Bee sized tubes too to put in the house.

I actually enjoy watching the bees.
 

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