Home Blog Page 27

How Bees Make Wax – Bees & Beekeeping Information

Honey bees live in self-manufactured, waxy combs that make up an entire hive. These hives serve as homes and repositories for their food supply (honey, nectar, and pollen) and eggs laid by their queen to produce the next generation of bees. The answer of how bees make wax was once a mystery until science unlocked the mechanics behind the process, revealing an alchemical transformation. This beneficial beeswax is used by bees, other animals, and humans as a food source, a financial tool, and in households and businesses around the world.

What Is Beeswax?

Beeswax

Beeswax is a complex substance bees secrete to manufacture and repair combs. These waxy combs are a series of interlocking hexagonal shaped tubes composed of fatty acids, hydrocarbons, and proteins.

How Bees Make Beeswax?

Bees Make Beeswax

The process of how bees make wax is complex and depends on many factors. In a bee colony, there are three types of bees:  the queen, the worker, and the drone. The queen mates and lays eggs. Drones are male bees whose sole function is to breed with the queen.

Finally, worker bees are sterile females who do everything, including taking care of and feeding the young, the queen, and the drones; producing wax to create and maintain the hive; cleaning the hive; gathering nectar and pollen; making honey and guarding the nest against enemies. Only young worker bees have wax glands. The oldest worker bees and the queen bee do not have wax glands.

Factors Necessary for Wax Production

Wax Gland Producing Stage

Nectar Gathering and Honey Conversion Stage

The Production of Wax

Temperature Necessary to Work Wax

The End Cycle of Wax Production

How is Beeswax Used?

Beeswax

Beeswax is used by bees, humans, and other creatures in many ways.

How Bees Use Beeswax

How Humans Use Beeswax

Benefits to the Skin

The following are Some of the Most Powerful Benefits of Beeswax:

Beeswax as a Food Product or Ingredient

Household Uses for Beeswax

Industrial Manufacturing Uses

Beeswax Used by Other Animals

Conclusion

The process of how bees make wax is complex, intensive, and time-consuming. But this natural and powerful product has benefited bees, animals, and humans for thousands of years. It is important to ensure the health and well-being of bees by planting flowers and plants they feed on, monitoring the kinds of toxic chemicals used in their environments, and educating people about the tremendous impact they have upon the planet. Their work of collecting nectar and pollen ensures the survival of various plant species and feeds generations of humans, animals, and other insects.

Bees are amazing, diligent, and tireless creatures. Thanks to their two great products, honey, and beeswax, billions of Earth's inhabitants can enjoy their products as a food source and financial resource to better their lives.

Top Bar Hive Plans Beekeeping Review And More

Top Bar Hive

There are not many people who don't enjoy the effects of natural honey. From its warm sweet taste to its medicinal properties, such as being a natural antihistamine, it is a benefit to all. And for those that have learned to keep bees, and then harvest both the honey and wax made, it has an added benefit. It is a hobby that can be very calming and soothing. There is nothing quite like connecting to nature in this way. However, to get involved in such an endeavor requires some decisions to be made. The first of which we are going to discuss in length. What type of hive should you get? There are quite a few options out there. And each has its advantages and disadvantages. The key is to find what is going to be the best for you and the plans you have for your hive. This review is to help you find out if top bar hive plans are for you.

Top Bar Hive Plan

Top Bar Beehive

Top Bar Hives (TBH) are beehives that are not generally referred to as the most widely used. That place belongs to the Langstroth bee hive plan. They are given this place for its design that makes the commercial and large-scale production of honey and crop pollination beekeeping relatively easy. We will discuss them later.  The Top Bar Hive plan is much different and therefore tends to be suited well for smaller operations and also the "all natural" beekeeper. Unlike the classic Langstroth, it highlights the use of top bars that sit horizontally and allow the bees to build a natural comb that hangs down from it.

Product Specs

Top Bar Hive plans can vary greatly. In fact, most Top Bar Hive owners build their own. While it may not be the most widely used throughout the US, the fact that it can be made by hand gives it an edge over the Langstroth in poorer and underdeveloped areas. They are normally horizontal rectangular wooden boxes with a cover that allows for easy access to the combs that are attached to the top bars that hang inside. It really does not take a lot of woodworking skills to accomplish a well put together hive. Nor does it require expensive or hard to come by materials. They can be made from commonly found materials at any hardware or DIY store and put together rather simply.

There are essentially two different types of these plans: the Kenyan and the Tanzanian. Both are relatively the same just with differing side walls. The Kenyan has side walls that are sloping downward while the Tanzanian has square or vertical ones. This makes the Tanzanian design easier to build and is also why it is so popular in third world countries. However, studies show that the bees are usually less likely to attach their honey combs to the sloping sides of the Kenyan as they are to the sides of its sister hive.

If you are planning on harvesting any serious amount of honey from your top bar hive, there are a few specifications you should keep in mind. Bees will, without question, construct their comb in whatever shape or size of home that you give them. With that being said you do not want to make your hive too small and risk them not making enough honey for it to be worthwhile to you. Nor do you want to make it so large that removing a top bar and the comb attached to it becomes too difficult or risk breaking the comb. Most top bar hive plans recommend making the box wide and shallow to allow for easy handling and at least 40" long to ensure you get a good supply of honey.

There are pre-built top bar hives that can be purchased though various websites if you don't think you are up to the task of constructing your own.

Pricing

Because top bar hive plans can be constructed on your own and from various materials, the price of one could be no more than what you believe your time is worth if you already have material. If not, then what it costs you to build one could be anything from a few dollars at the local hardware store to a couple hundred, depending on the exact type of materials you decide to use. There is the option to buy a prefabricated one online somewhere. These tend to be around $300 for a good-sized one made from quality materials. Unless you have a lot of other beekeepers in your area, you will probably be hard-pressed to find a ready-made model for sale in close proximity.

How it Compares

We picked a couple of similar products available on the market to see how they compare.


COLIBROX--Top Bar Bee Hive with 12 Top Bars Backyard Bee Keeping Hive...
  • PERFECT QUALITY--A brand-new, unused, unopened, undamaged item in its original packaging (where packaging is...
  • A new, unused item with absolutely no signs of wear. The item may be missing the original packaging, or in the original...
  • An item that has been professionally restored to working order by a manufacturer or manufacturer-approved vendor. This...

Weight

One of the best things about top bar hive plans is that there is no heavy lifting involved. Honeybees and honey can be rather heavy. With a top bar hive, you have only to lift the cover off to access the bars and combs. The bar, made of a single 1 1/2" board and the attached comb combined are going to top out at about 15, maybe 20 pounds. With most other designs, such as the Langstroth, in order to access a certain comb, you must first lift off the other combs housed in frames that sit on top of it. There could be as many as eight or nine other frames on top. So that is somewhere around 100 lbs that you may have to lift.


Access

Because top bars are horizontal hives, they can be placed at a height that is convenient for you, without bending over or using a step stool. Also, they can be made with a window on various sides to allow you to see inside and check on them without bothering the bees and exposing them unnecessarily. When you do need to open the hive to retrieve a comb or fix something, there is always somewhat of a roof made by the other bars over the bees unless you decide to remove them all. This allows them not to feel as frenzied or bothered.


Simplistic Design

This hive plan is simpler and requires fewer materials to build than others, making it the obvious choice for those with fewer resources or DIY enthusiasts. It also is the choice for those that are interested in more natural beekeeping practices. There is no way to use a foundation, queen excluders or drone frames with the TBH.

Price

Generally $100-$500

Ease of Use

Assembly Time

Design Quality

Warranty

Pros

  • No heavy lifting involved
  • Can be placed at a height that is convenient for you
  • Simpler and requires fewer materials to build than others

Cons

  • Difficult to get replacement parts or pieces that will fit into the hive without having them made beforehand for that exact purpose.  
  • Lack Of Comb Support
  • Experience​​​​/Difficulty
    That brings us to another potential downside. 

Amish Made in USA Complete 8 Frame Langstroth Bee Hive includes Frames...
  • Includes 16 High Quality Dovetail Pine Brood Frames (9-9/16" x 19")
  • Includes 8 High Quality Dovetail Pine Super Frames (6-5/8" x 19")
  • 24 Food Grade Plastic Foundations, Coated with Real Bee's Wax

As we mentioned before, the Langstroth is probably the most commonly used hive. Popular enough that most people, upon seeing one, know exactly what it is. Most other hive plans are questioned about as to what they are and how they are used. Langstroth's design is to house the combs in frames as opposed to one top bar for more support. These are placed in a box with a cover. As your hive grows, you can simply add another box on top. As they are so popular, you can find this pre-made from a variety of manufacturers and the parts are all interchangeable and easy to get replacements for. This makes it very easy to use and keeps assembly time to the very minimum. There are several brands and models to go with, most being very similar to to exchange parts easily. All are made of wood of some variation, so do your research to make sure you are getting quality. The price on the Langstroth can vary greatly depending on the size you get and if there are any additions to it such as frames with foundations and FlowHive technology.

Price

Generally $100-$500

Ease of Use

Assembly Time

Design Quality

Warranty

Pros

  • Lots of options when it comes to maintenance practices
  • Compact design makes it easy to transport
  • Equipment and information is ready-made and easy to obtain

Cons

  • Heavy to lift without help
  • Every time you have to do anything with the hive you end up disturbing the bees.
  • Do not follow the natural building habits of bees.

The Warre beehive is a combination of the Langstroth and the top bar. While it is built with boxes that stack vertically, like the Langstroth, the boxes house top bars not frames.  The top bars are smaller than those not used for a Warre hive. It is also important to note that Warre has not just a cover, but a roof with a box built underneath that holds wood shavings. When you want to add a box, do so from the bottom instead of the top as you would with a Langstroth. Like the Langstroth to do any removing or checking in the bottom boxes you first have to take off the upper ones. While not quite as popular as the Langstroth they are still easier to find pre-made than the Top Bar, and they are fairly simple to construct as well, although, there are many more parts to put in place. The Warre is made from wood, and so are the others that we have covered.

Price

Generally $100-$500

Ease of Use

Assembly Time

Design Quality

Warranty

Pros

  • Closer to nature in design
  • Inexpensive to build
  • Boxes are smaller and therefore lighter than the Langstroth

Cons

  • Boxes can be heavy to lift
  • Yields less honey than Langstroth
  • Top bars don't offer much support to the comb

Conclusion

After researching this and other types of beehives, we have found that we really like several aspects of the top bar hive. In light of recent problems with diminishing bee populations around the globe, we encourage those who can, to start their own hive and begin your love affair with bees. They are indeed fascinating creatures and offer so many benefits to everyone. However, it is important to get a hive that suits your needs and the needs of the bees. This is one reason that we can recommend the top bar hive for those who are really looking for a more natural approach to beekeeping. This hive allows bees to construct their comb in their own unique way as they would in the wild. It also allows for easy management of the bees without interrupting them more than necessary. We think the top bars are worth looking into for yourself whether you are just starting out with bees or you are looking for something a little different from the norm that gives you more natural options.

Can Bees See Red – Bees & Beekeeping Information

Can Bees See Red

Have you ever wondered; can bees see red? You might never have thought about a question like this unless you've raised bees yourself and got the idea to paint their hives in different colors like I did. Last summer, I painted my Langstroth hives different colors just for a little variety. I used the colors of wildflowers in my area; blue, yellow, violet, and white.

Can Bees See Red?

Can Bees See Red
  • I'd heard somewhere that bees can't see the color red, so I avoided using it. But it got me wondering whether or not what I'd heard was true. After doing a little research, I was fascinated by what I discovered. However you've come to have this question yourself, the answer may surprise you.

Color Connections

colors: human vs. bees
  • Some animals see fewer colors than we can, and some, like birds, can see more colors than human beings. The way animals see varies widely depending on how they are adapted.
  • Whether you're a bee, a human, or any other creature, you can see objects around you because of the light reflected off of those objects. The reflected light enters the eye, the photoreceptors in the eye absorb that light and then it's interpreted as color by the brain.
  • Human beings can see light in a range of different colors. But we have only three photoreceptors in our eye. These receptors can perceive red, blue, and green. The reason that you and I can see more than just these colors is that other colors are created by combinations of the three primary colors in our brains.
  • Forumbee
    Bees have the same number of photoreceptors, but they see in different colors. Their trichromatic eyes allow them to see blue and green, just like us, but instead of red, they can see in ultraviolet.
  • Forumbee
    So how do we know this? Because bees play such a vital role in growing the food we eat, our little black and yellow friends have been observed by beekeepers for centuries. But it was Karl Von Frisch who applied scientific methods to his experimentation with bees that unveiled hidden knowledge about how bees see.

'Beecause' of Science

Can Bees See Red
  • It's thanks to the valiant efforts of Von Frisch, studying honeybees and their behavior, that humans have come to confirm that bees use their capacity to see color to help them find flowers to pollinate.
  • In 1915, Frisch conducted experiments using cards of different colors. He placed bee food on a card then removed the food in later trials to see if the bees would return to the same-colored card where the food had been.
  • Answering the question, "can bees see red?" he found the bees returned to the cards in all the colors he tested except for one: red. Frisch concluded that this color was outside of the bees' ability to perceive.
  • Forumbee
    So, when answering the question, "can bees see red,"  a red object won't appear invisible; they'll still see something is there. However, to a bee, red is indistinguishable from black. This conclusion was made from the results of a study decades later by Professor Kahn on the wavelengths of light visible to bees. The results of this study lead us to understand that while red and infrared were imperceptible, bees can see in the ultraviolet spectrum, unlike humans.

The Advantages Of Ultraviolet

Can Bees See Red
  • So why can bees see in ultraviolet but humans can't? One clue has to do with the way that this adaptation is useful to bees' survival. To state the obvious flowers are colorful. But to a bee, there's even more to see.
  • In addition to seeing subtle differences in the shade of flower petals, which look different depending on their nectar content, bees can read the places on a flower where the most nectar can be harvested. This is why it's a useful survival skill for a bee to distinguish between leaves, which hold no nectar, and flowers which do.
  • Not only is seeing in color useful to bees but being able to see in ultraviolet is especially useful because there are actually ultraviolet patterns on the flower. They're invisible to us, but to bees, they're like runway lights that guide them to the sweet nectar inside flower bulbs.
  • Forumbee
    To a human, a white flower is a white flower. But consider how different those white flowers look from one bee to another to, which can see that each has a unique UV signature. These are unique enough that a bee can pick out one specific flower in an entire field even if they're of the same variety.
  • Forumbee
    UV isn't just crucial for use in finding flowers; it can play a role in how bees behave too. In experiments which isolated bees from sources of UV light, scientists discovered that their subjects lost interest in leaving the hive in search of nectar even after they began to starve.

The Eyes Have It

Can Bees See Red
  • Because their unique eyes are such a useful adaptation, bees can pick up these signals much more quickly than we humans can. Imagine you're looking at a field of gorgeous wildflowers on a spring day. You probably wouldn't be able to distinguish between the individual flowers because there are too many of them. But for a bee, it's no issue.
  • Bees can pick out a color faster than any other creature that we know of. They can distinguish between flowers while flying even if they only see a brief flicker of movement. If you've ever tried to swat at a bee only to have it easily evade you, you've seen this quick perception of movement in action. Their compound eyes help them see 280 degrees at once.
  • In addition to their two large compound eyes, bees also have three smaller eyes at the top of their heads called occeli. It's the occeli that help the bees see in ultraviolet, in addition to helping them keep an up-down orientation while flying. Since there's more light coming from above than below, it helps them distinguish the sky from the ground.
  • Forumbee
    Even when there's no sun to see by, bees can still use their incredible compound eyes to help them find their way home again. Sunlight is diffused, but polarized light, which isn't perceivable by humans, is super-focused. These invisible beams in the sky help bees to reorient and return home wherever they are.

Why Bees Matter

Can Bees See Red
  • So we've answered the question, "can bees see red,", but does this matter? While it might seem like a trivial detail to know that a bee can't see red, understanding how bees see is incredibly important.
  • Some animals rely on senses other than sight, so they don't need sophisticated eyes, but bees rely on sight to navigate. This means that they need to be able to see in order to pollinate. This matters immensely not just for those of us interested in raising bees and cultivating honey. So many of the crops we take for granted would simply be impossible to grow without bees.
  • Have you had an apple today? How about some sliced cucumber on your salad? I like to keep a bag of almonds nearby for munching on throughout the day. These and many other agricultural products, including avocados, onions, grapefruit, etc. would be impossible without bees.
  • Forumbee
    A study of bees and their cumulative impact on the economy estimated that bees contribute nearly $15 billion annually to the U.S. economy because of all the produce which is dependent upon them. This makes the decline of bee populations potentially devastating not only to farmers but also consumers who rely on these foods every day.

How To See Like A Bee

Can Bees See Red
  • Early attempts to capture how bees see the world using technology used a single camera to approximate the bee's field of vision. But this one-camera model was thrown out in favor of one that more closely resembled a bee's compound vision by using thousands of tiny lenses and mirrors. Cameras like these give us a general idea of the colors bees can perceive and what the world looks like to them.
  • Technology that can be used to see how the way bees do has wide-reaching potential. Far more than just a novelty, this information could be used to create a failsafe if the number of honey bees drops precipitously. Without bees, we may be stuck using technology to try to replace the role they play in food production.
  • That's no easy task when you consider just how sophisticated bees are at pollinating. Thanks to adaptations over millions of years, bees are incredibly adept at finding flowers to pollinate, and they can do so even in very windy conditions. Can you imagine a fleet of human-designed drone robots simultaneously doing all the same tasks that bees do as efficiently?
  • Forumbee
    Of course, even without honey bees, there are still natural pollinators that we can rely on. Hummingbirds are the most adroit pollen collectors among all species of birds. And just like other birds they can see in a range of colors, including red. For this reason, they often have red flowers all to themselves since these are less often disturbed by bees looking for nectar.

How Bees Make Hives – Bees & Beekeeping Information

bee hive in the forest

How bees make hives has baffled scientists for many years. Even today reason for the hexagon shape is up to debate. How bees make their nests is an extraordinary achievement for such a tiny insect.

What Is A Beehive?

Though the world beehive is commonly used to describe the nest of any bee colony, scientists and professionals distinguish nests from hives. A nest is used to refer to colonies housed in natural or artificial cavities or are hanging, exposed. Hive is used to describe an artificial, man-made structure to house a honey bee nest, typically made of straw, pottery, or wood.

man made Beehives line up

The beehives structure is a densely packed group of hexagon-shaped cells made of beeswax, called honeycomb, and propolis. The bees use these cells to store food like honey and pollen along with the offspring of the queen, also known as the brood, during the egg, larvae, and pupae stages.

How Is BeesWax Made?

In nature, wax is an alcohol bonded to a fatty acid. In this case, it is made from honey. Bees consume honey, and as they digest it, the honey is converted into wax through a set of eight glands on the bee's abdomen. Bees need to consume six to eight pounds of honey to produce one pound of wax.

As bees age, they produce a lower quality wax, so the bees in charge of construction are usually two or three weeks old. The glands of worker bees convert the sugar contents of honey by eating it and turning it into wax, which oozes through the bee’s pores to produce tiny flakes on their abdomen. Workers will chew these flakes to use during construction of the hive.

What is Propolis?

Propolis is an antimicrobial substance from plant resins, which is collected by honey bees along with nectar and pollen they need for food. It is also known as “bee glue.” Resins are secreted by plants when they have been damaged, to close wounds in their surfaces and protect new buds from free radicals. It is sticky at or above room temperature, but it is hard and brittle below that temperature. Depending on the plants the resins was harvested from, it can be brown, green, red, or black.

Bees must collect nectar to make honey, but they also make separate trips for collecting plant resins. The bees pick up the resins by using their forelegs and mandibles. Then, they place it in the pollen sac on their hind legs, which can hold about 10 mg in each sac. When they get back to the hive, other bees have to pull the sticky substance off their legs for them. Then, the plant resin gets mixed with saliva and wax which is secreted by the worker bees. They mix the substances by chewing them, resulting in raw propolis.

Propolis is used at the entrance to their hives to keep bees from bringing in harmful microbes by disinfecting the base of their legs, which consists of a soft pad called the arolium and claws. Worker bees use propolis to prepare a sterile place for the queen to lay eggs. Propolis is also used for embalming parasites and invaders. Small predators that bees find too difficult to remove from the hive are cover with propolis after killed by stinging. This prevents decomposition, which is a health risk to the entire colony.

Bees also use this substance to patch up holes and cracks in the hive to keep heat from escaping, better protect the hive from invasion, and strengthen the hive structure. They use propolis for holes smaller than 3.5mm and a mix or just wax for the larger holes.

Hive Hierarchy

Worker bees and drones are the two main types of bees within the hive, along with one queen bee. Most cells are for smaller worker bees. They are all neatly lined up and in good shape. Worker bees only live for about 6 weeks and spend their days doing tasks that benefit the whole colony. Drones are usually bigger than the worker bees, but they do the least amount of work. When not protecting the hive, they will go out looking for virgin queens and come back to the hive empty-handed. Maybe that’s the reason they get the cells along the bottom.

Queen Bee

The main job of the queen bee is to lay eggs and ensure the survival of the hive. Queen bees are chosen by the worker bees and are chosen most often by size. When the chosen queen reaches adulthood, she can go on many mating flights will as many as 10 or more drone bees. After mating flights, the drones die and the queen stores millions of sperm in her body that will be good for the rest of her lifespan.

Queen Bee surrounded by other bees

When the queen starts slowing down in producing eggs or shows any other signs of diminishing power, the worker bees will raise more queen larvae. Once the new queen emerges, the old queen bee leaves the hive with a swarm of offspring. The former queen has no choice, but to find a new hive or die. The new queen bee will use worker bees to spread her pheromones throughout the hive to let the other bees know that she is alive.

Worker Bees

Worker honey bees make the hives to store honey and feed themselves throughout the winter when they cannot go out and look for food. Worker bees make up about 85% of the hive and are always female. There are three main life stages for the worker bee, and these stages also dictate their individual occupations.

swarm of bees

Young workers are one to twelve days old and clean cells, nurse the broods and assist the queen bee. Middle age workers are 12 to 20 days old and build the comb structure, store pollen, and ventilate the nest. Older workers are 20 to 30 days old. These are the ones you come across away from the hive. They are responsible for collecting pollen and providing the necessary enzymes to turn nectar into honey.

Drone Bee

Drones are always male, and their main purpose is to mate with the queen. The drones that are chosen by the queen to mate die quickly after mating because their reproductive parts get ripped out. Those who don’t get picked spend their time guarding the opening of the hive from predators.

How Bees Make Hives

How bees make hives, is a very interesting subject. We've seen beehives all around us, but have you ever witnessed one being made? Honey bee hives are made of six-sided tubes, shaped for optimal honey production because they require less wax and can hold more honey. Hives out in the open will die in the cold; If it’s too hot, the junctions where combs meet will soften and melt, and will probably drop from where they hang. Here is more information about how bees make hives.

Location

Bees that are farmed by apiarists provided the colony with man-made structures in which to build their hive by the individual looking after them. Wild bees choose to construct their nests anywhere which offers protection from the elements. Once settled on a location, construction begins from the top downwards.

Construction

The next time you see a hive and wonder how bees make hives, remember it is not a simple process. Worker bees prepare the space by covering its wall with a thin layer of propolis. The bees will use more propolis inside the hive at various stages of construction to help protect the colony from harmful germs. Then, bees will chew the wax they secrete until it is soft, bonding bits of it together to form individual cells.

The cells will be used to store nectar, pollen, water, honey, eggs, and larvae. When the first walls are up, the queen bee lays its eggs into cells of the wall. The walls of a finished honeycomb can support thirty times their own weight and will contain honey in their uppermost sections. Then pollen in the rows below that, followed by worker brood cells, and drone brood cells. The Queens cells are at the bottom of the structure. Once constructed, the hive has only one entrance and will last the colony for several years.

Why Do They Use The Hexagon Shape?

Mathematically, a circle shape would make it possible to store the most volume of honey, but the curved shape allows for gaps when the cylinders are placed next to each other. This would result in wasted space and extra wax production, in respect to honeycomb building. The hexagon is the perfect solution to this problem. It is the most circle-like and allows for other cells to be placed next to each other without wasting space.

As part of a study conducted by the University of Cardiff in July 2013, researchers used a handheld smoking device to drive bees away from a hive they were in the middle of constructing. Researchers observed that the most recently built cells were circular, whereas those that had been constructed were circular, whereas the ones that had been constructed beforehand were hexagonal. This research suggested that the heat generated by the bees during construction caused the comb to melt, causing cells walls to flatten together, forming hexagons.

Beehive Hexagon Shape

Even though this research did not provide clear details about whether the bees do this on purpose or if it just happens naturally. This research did show that bees measure the depth of each cell with their bodies and even know when to change the tilt of the cells to prevent contents from dropping out.

While some of these theories are up to debate, honeybees play a vital role in global plant production and their own products are beneficial too. Royal jelly (the honey that is fed to larvae) is used for asthma, hay fever, liver disease, pancreatitis, type 2 diabetes, diabetic foot ulcers, sleep troubles, just to name a few. Beeswax is also known for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. These are just a few benefits that honeybees provide.

How Bees Make Hives - Conclusion

Now that you know how bees make hives, the next time you see a beehive, you may find a deeper appreciation for it. These incredible creatures are a vital part of our ecosystem. Their complex existence continues to surprise us.

Mason Bees For Sale Review And More

Mason Bee on a flower

Mason Bees are a primary necessity for any aspiring professional beekeeper. This article provides substantial information regarding how to gain the best Mason bees for sale by contacting the ideal dealers. You will learn a lot of things you need to know about Beekeeper Center, Minooka IL before seeking their services.

If you have been looking for an honest review of the company, then you have come to the right place. The good thing is that this information is comprehensive as it covers a lot of things that you will need to know when preparing to buy and keep Mason Bees.

It is crucial that you pay attention to the details availed in this piece for the sake of your impending beekeeping project and finding the best mason bees for sale.

mason bees

Image Source: wikipedia.org

What Are Mason Bees?

Mason Bees, also known as genus Osmia, are the native bee that is prevalent throughout most of the US. When compared to the honey bees, mason bees are a little smaller and naturally black or metallic blue in color.

The name originates from the habit of building the nest which is ideal to seal off the cells where they also lay eggs, with the mortar-like application of mud.

In North America, there are at least 140 species of Mason Bees; all are solitary bees. While the males lack the stinger, the females only tend to sting when they are trapped or squeezed.

This makes them the right neighborhood for the home garden since they pose a minimum threat of stinging.

Characteristics Of Mason Bees

In the wild habitat, mason bees usually lay their eggs in small natural holes such as woodpecker holes, hollow stems, insect holes, and they appear just as happy to lay eggs in the artificial nesting cavities like the wooden blocks with holes drilled in them, paper straws and cardboard tubes.

Note that the mason bees cannot create their cavities to lay eggs, which is why they are happy to lay eggs in whatever location is suitable.

Most of the time, the female mason bees emerge during the spring and instantly look for nectar and pollen which they source from berries, fruit trees, vegetables, flowers, and berries.

Mason bees for sale

The foods they gather are packed in the far end of their nesting cavity until they are sure of enough food to feed the young bees. Finally, she lays the egg and seals the cell up. The process proceeds steadily until the bees have filled the entire chamber with a chain of nectar/egg/pollen cells.

Amazingly, the eggs that are meant to be females are usually deposited at the rear parts of the nesting chamber; the first bees to emerge are the males.

The mason bees work systematically, for instance, they fill one chamber after the other. For four to six weeks, the nectar and pollen collection carries on without stopping. Interestingly, the bee dies after the filling up of the nectar is complete.

The mason bee larvae get hatched after a few days following the laying of the eggs. They then begin to feast on food that has been stored in their cell, which always lasts for approximately ten days.

After ten days, the larva spins the cocoon and then pupates. By the beginning of autumn, the insects look more like adult bees, though they are still kept in the cocoon throughout winter.

The males breakthrough first when the weather gets warm in spring; the females come out several days later.

Pros of Mason Bees

Mason Bees are the best pollinators. It has been reported that just two or three females can pollinate a mature apple tree within a very short duration.

While the honeybees are likely to take a day off during cold or rainy weather, the mason bees keep working no matter the conditions. This makes them ideal colony consider when looking for mason bees for sale.

The ability of the mason bees to work even during adverse weather make them the best breed to tame, to maximize honey production for commercial purposes.

Being the native to the Pacific Northwest, the mason bees can thrive in the cool, damp spring climate with no problem. The mason bees are relatively non-aggressive, gentle and easy to observe posing no danger to the farmers.

When you are looking for the best alternative for raising the honeybees, then Mason bees come in handy; they hardly sting.

The mason bees collect more pollen as compared to nectar; honeybees collect more nectar than pollen. As compared to the honeybees, that only achieve 5% of pollination, mason bees gain 95-99% pollination.

Another critical benefit of raising mason bees over honeybees is that they forage earlier and for longer durations.

The professional beekeepers report that the mason bees are more natural to raise and maintain as compared to the honeybees. The mason bees help to complement the efforts made by other natural pollinators like butterflies, birds, and other beneficial insects.

Another good thing with the mason bees is that they are great for reproduction since they produce a five-fold annually; hence provide adequate nesting.

To the home gardener, professional growers, and neighbors, the mason bees are beneficial since they pollinate berries, flowers, and nut trees within at least a hundred yards of the nesting site.

The mason bees have a wide range of benefits that if you are in search for a trustworthy dealer in mason bees for sale, then you are up for some adventurous venture. 

Make sure to you read further and learn more about the mason bees so that, you have the accurate knowledge to help you make the best choice for your beekeeping project.

Cons of Mason Bees

It is normal to state that everything that has advantages also has their downsides. For the mason bees, maybe it is only accurate to show that the one disadvantage of this colony is their habit of overproducing.

If you are a farmer and fail to brace accordingly for a massive swarm of bees soon, then the chances are that you could be overwhelmed.

One thing that a farmer needs to do is make certain that he provides them with enough space. Once they reproduce, they are unstoppable.

The mason bees are less aggressive and post no dangers to the farmers, which means it's possible to harvest honey as long as the slight protective measures are put under consideration.

Tips For Successfully Raising Mason Bees for Sale

Below are some of the tips you need to start the beekeeping project.

Don't Panic.

Note that there are no stingers in the male orchard bees and they do not even have the queens to protect, and also, all the females are fertile; they are not aggressive.

Though there are chances of getting stung anyway, the sting is more akin to the mosquito bite than the average bee sting.

Pollen Is Crucial.

In case of an inadequate amount of pollen in your yard, the mason bees are most likely to move on to other locations.

It is vital to check on the internet for information regarding the plants good at producing pollens and growing them in your yard. This will keep your mason bees from moving out of hand to other locations.

Ensure Proper Positioning Of The Nesting Boxes.

House, garden or south facing garage are appropriate areas for setting up your nesting boxes.

The families will also try to ensure that there is enough food within about 300 feet of the nest; this is as far as the bees are likely to travel. Make certain to note the plants you can see around the area where you are establishing the nesting box. ​

It is worth knowing the mason bees will not stop at the boundary of your property; they are likely to go across the street to other locations in search of pollen if they have to.

Mud Is Mandatory.

The female mason bees need mud for their eggs, which is why it is essential to have an open ground for them. There must be not grass or back covering on the open ground so that the bees can get to collect the mud with ease.

Families are also encouraged to make a mud pie by using the soil moist, but not soupy. Have your little ones do this for you since they will enjoy the process.

Because bees are weak when they first emerge, it is advisable to not place the mud pie directly under the nest as they might fall in and die.

Pick The Right Nesting Material.

Pull-apart wooden blocks, cardboards with paper linings, homemade paper tubes, and drill blocks can all be ideal for making the best nest for the mason bees.

The pull-apart wooden blocks can be ideal for material since they are porous and are also easy to clean and sanitize.

The paper products might not be easy to use due to the Northwestern climate, but it can be an amazing project for children so they can make their own.

It is advisable to have new drilled blocks made each year since they can easily get infected with the microscopic pests and cannot be cleaned.

Watch Out For The Predators.

Woodpeckers, starlings, robins, and crows prey on the adult masons as soon as they emerge on their nests.

In the morning hours, the bees are always vulnerable when they bask in the sun to get warm enough to fly, or when they are out gathering mud for the nest. For the birds, the little bees are more like candy, more so when they find a nesting block which is filled with many bees.

One of the best ways to get rid of predators is by having the nest established in the garage or a shed at the end of the active period.

Protect Nesting Units From The environment.

It is mandatory to have the nesting units protected from the rain and or wind. To achieve this, make sure that the nest is mounted with cavities slightly tilting down to prevent the rainwater from finding its way into the nest and creating harmful mold.

Offering enough security to the nesting unit will also ensure that movement that might dislodge the eggs and larvae are prevented.

The beekeeper must make sure that the nesting materials and the bees are cleaned each fall, or else, the family might risk losing the entire colony.

Opening the nest can substantially reduce mites, pests, and chalk-brood fungus and then sanitize the nesting material at least once a year. Renting the mason bees is the best solution for the families that are concerned with having their elements adequately cleaned.

In case of a challenge during the harvesting, contact a specialist for further advice. You can also join beekeeping clubs to learn essential harvesting tips from other beekeeping enthusiasts.

Mason Bees For Sale: Final Thoughts

Conclusively, increasing the population of mason bees for sale is a fundamental part of beekeeping. This maximizes not only the amount of honey produced, but it helps to enhance support for the local systems and can increase the vegetable and fruit yields in your garden. 

Keeping the mason bees and also attracting other native pollinators through the provision of habitat and forage is a super rewarding and easily attainable experience.

If you are interested in becoming a beekeeper, there are many steps that come before finding mason bees for sale.

Once your setup is complete, you can find mason bees for sale from a number of reliable suppliers. These gentle, solitary bees are a great way to start your beekeeping ventures.