Welcome back to Buzzline after a short summer break. It is now 8 weeks since the first Red Mason Bees were released, and it is great to see on the live streams page, that five schools have eggs in their top tray and many of you have eggs in the lower trays too. This is wonderful news!

Did you know? A female Red Mason Bee will make up to 15 trips in and out of the nest to collect the nectar needed to line a cell with enough food for one egg to grow!

What should we look out for this June and July?

July 2017 Schools' Red Mason Bee Project Report

We can expect to see female Red Mason Bees visiting plants and flowers in our school grounds and returning to the Bee Box for another 4 to 6 weeks. There, inside your Bee Box the adult female will continue to line the tubes with nectar and lay the last of her precious eggs. This task complete, she will seal the entrance to each tube with mud, to protect the eggs inside from parasites that will attempt to eat both the nectar and the small eggs.

Things to do!

Nature is amazing so keep a record this July and August of when the events listed below take place in your webcam Bee Box. This may require an adult to remove and replace the trays so that you count the number of eggs in each tube.

  • Keep a weekly record of how many eggs have been laid in your Webcam Bee Box.
  • Keep a record (day/month) of all the visits female bees make to your Bee Box.
  • Record the date (day/month) when the end of each tube is filled with mud.
  • Record if you see the colour of the material in the cell change. This is waste matter that the larvae no longer requires and is a sign that it will soon spin a thick silk skin (cocoon) around its body before preparing to hibernate and go to sleep for the winter.

Keep others up to date with what is happening!

Creating a new wildlife habitat in your school grounds is an amazing thing to do! So share this important news and keep others up to date with what is happening. What can you do? Here are a few ideas.

  • Prepare an assembly for your school about the important work Bees and other pollinating insects do.
  • Produce a project newsletter for pupils and their families about the work you have been doing to date.
  • Start a display board featuring photos and news about the project that you can update each week.
  • Keep a photographic diary. Include photos of the filled trays, mud sealed tubes, female bees entering and exiting the Bee Box and solitary bees visiting plants.
  • Hold a “Bee Day” now or at the beginning of the New School Year. Encourage every class to focus on the important part pollinator’s play in nature and the food chain.
  • Invite a local farmer, gardener or vineyard owner/worker to visit your school to talk to classes about the importance of pollinators.

Plan a Bee Awareness Day in your school - Bee Cause Activity Pack

So there we are, lots of exciting things are happening in your Webcam Bee Box! So keep a record of what you see this summer. We will be back at the start of September to tell you about what you will need with the cocoons in your trays after the larvae hibernate and to check if you will need more Bee stock for the following spring.