The demise of our bee population has been highlighted by various bee societies and I felt that our school could do something to help. I approached the P.T.F.A to ask if they would support their plight by funding a guardianship system for the Red Mason Bee. This solitary bee is one of the highest pollinators in our insect world. Realising that Littletown could do ‘our bit’ to help, they enabled us to buy a bee lodge, a release box for the cocoons and 20 Red Mason Bees. This duly arrived and was set up as per the strict instructions. On the 26th March 20 cocoons arrived (by post!), and we’re placed in the release box. Then we waited......
After nearly a month of daily checking the release box and listening for the expected ‘snap, crackle and pop’ sound, 9 male bees emerged from their cocoons and flew out across the school field. Would they know what to do? Would they know that the lodge was for them? However, my worries were over, when I saw them flying in and out of the lodge. The females should emerge about a week after the males. Keep checking for updates on our precious little bees.
Well... a few weeks has passed since the cocoons were placed in the release box, but I am pleased to announce that, all but 3 of the 20 cocoons that arrived, have hatched and they have been super busy doing what bees do. So much so, that we have now been lucky enough to have eggs laid in the tubes. They have been sealed up by the female bee and I have removed them for storage until September. In the meantime, daily inspections will take place and full capped tubes will continue to be removed. I wonder how many full tubes we will get?
This is the last update for our little red mason bees. Over the summer they have filled 15 of the cardboard tubes with eggs and sealed both ends with soil. The tubes have been brought in for storage until September. They will be sent in the post to the guardian bee society where they will store them until March of next year. Happy holidays!