Hello this is my first post here. Unable to find any topic about this:
Is it possible to raise Mason bees (and have them for the following year) within a property that has a lot of honeybee hives already?
I live in Australia and own 9 honeybee hives, as well as a few wild hives nearby in tree hollows. My property is 3/4 of an acre in the middle of a town, last year farmers planted canola in fields outside town and my bees were flying out to the fields and making honey from that. I'm planning on growing a patch on alfalfa in 1/10th of an acre in the front of the yard to hopefully help Mason bees feed. I have a large clay and mud source on my property as well. Planning on making paper tubes for them to nest in on my front porch (Low foot traffic there).
I'm worried that the massive amount of bees in my area will out compete any Mason bees that I will raise and they wouldn't stay in the area to nest for next year. Is there a easy crop to grow that mason bees can feed from without honeybees cleaning out any nectar or pollen? Am I overthinking this and all the honeybees and mason bees will have more flowers than they could feed from in a little town and surrounding fields? I don't know if there are any native solitary bees around so I was considering purchasing some https://creativewoodcraft.co.nz/products/leafcutter-bee-cells-qty-50 leafcutters from New Zealand. I don't know if they will be able to clear Australian border quarantine though.
Any advice or help with any of these questions would be greatly appreciated. I don't have any reason to keep Mason bees for pollination or anything like that, I just think they are cute and really want to take care of them and hug them and.. yeah.
Thanks for reading this thread, I'm sorry if I'm being rude unintentionally, I didn't check the honeybee section yet for this topic.
Thank you very much Joseph, knowing you have so many hives and also solitary bees in the same area is quite a relief.
I might see if I can attract some of the native solitary bees to nest before I try buying any mason or leafcutters now.
I don't believe there are any Osmia (aka mason) species in the southern hemisphere. I know you have the European leafcutter bees that were introduced to Australia decades ago. Your best bet is to not worry about the clay, but focus where there is abundant pollen. place out holes that range from 4mm-10mm ID and about 15cm's long. keep these facing morning sun.
Bees use mud, resin, cotton, leaf bits, etc. to close off their egg/pollen chambers.
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Think outside the hive, raise native bees
[quote=Pantor Callum]Am I overthinking this and all the honeybees and mason bees will have more flowers than they could feed from in a little town and surrounding fields? I don't know if there are any native solitary bees around so I was considering purchasing some [/quote]
I have several honeybee hives at home & there are many wild bees too. No problem I've ever seen or heard of from other local bee folks. Abundant bee food is probably the key.
See if there is a beekeeper association or club near you for native species & general bee info. Maybe a nearby college has some valuable info too.
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