I need help identifying what has taken residence in my Mason Bee colony Friend or Foe?

Asked June 21, 2019, 1:44 PM EDT

I have set up 5 mason bee "condos" in Underhill. I had two mason bees take up residence and create a column of chambers. They seemed to stop as we got into mid June (to be expected). Then recently I found two new columns of chambers. In these there seemed to be MULTIPLE grubs growing in each cell. I was concerned about an infestation of parasitic wasps. The chambers were created long after the mason bees quit and the clay plugs in the new columns seem sealed. Is there any chance that these are from a different species of bees? I have removed them from the condo but am wondering what they are. I will attach a photo.

Chittenden County Vermont

4 Responses

Thank you for your question. Mason bees are not the only insects that live in these structures. This article describes the multitudes of bees that need similar habitats in your area: https://umaine.edu/mafes/wp-content/uploads/sites/98/2018/07/Bees-and-Their-Habitats-in-Four-New-England-States.pdf We cannot control nature, but we can help create habitat. And, parasitic wasps are control insects for many other species we call ‘bad,’ Leave them all and help the environment!

Thank you SO MUCH for your response. The publication you provided is exactly what I needed. Your reflection on supporting ALL life forms because of their complex relationship to the environment is very well taken. If you will indulge me in a bit of personal trivia. I was pleased to see one of the bees enjoying nectar from Birdsfoot Trefoil, a plant VERY near and dear to my heart. My father and others at the University of Vermont (and Cornell) developed that wonderful plant from a Scandinavian rock garden plant. Our farm (Trefoil Acres) produced the first certified trefoil seed. The sign over our shed at TFA is mounted over my door. A second connection in the publication refers to the Horticultural Research Farm A.K.A. the Hort farm where I worked summers from age 15-.20? More importantly, it was there I met my wife of 49 years. Thanks for the information and thanks for the memories.

Doug Varney
Underhill, VT

Lovely note, Doug. You and your family have a rich history supporting nature, and will well deserve your golden wedding anniversary!