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BEES


At Creative Woodcraft we provide a selection of products that will m ake raising Bumble Bees, Leafcutter Bees and Native Bees fun, easy and economica.; Join us in our quest to encourage our native bees - and see your garden explode with blossoms as a result

Contents

BEE A POLLINATOR

Introduction Chapter I Promoting and Fostering Bumble Bees on Your Property

Chapter II Leafcutter Bees

Chapter III Solitary Bee House Inhabitants


Creative Woodcraft Welcomes you to ... Our Native Bees! Did you know that much of our food supply and many of the flowers and animals we love could not exist without pollinators like bees and butterflies? The bad news is that honey bees are quickly disappearing, but the good news is that our Native Bees are extremely efficient pollinators. It’s time to Bee a pollinator, and we are dedicated to spreading the word that our Native Bees are an excellent supplement to honey bees as pollinators of our food supply. Learn how you can help increase our native bee populations by providing Native Bees with healthy nesting sites and habitats.

Are you curious about our Native Bees and want to learn more? Have you noticed a decline in pollinators and flowers in your yard?

Our native pollinators are willing, able, and healthy – all they need are nesting sites! Urban sprawl, intensive agriculture and pesticide use are destroying their natural nesting sites and reducing the diversity of wildflowers they need to survive. Even though there are numerous species of native bees in New Zealand, many of them have declining populations simply because they can no longer find enough sites to raise their young. In today’s modern garden ground nesting solitary bees are battling inches of mulch and plastic weed barriers, and those bees that lay their eggs in wood cavities – like the Leafcutter Bee and Mason Wasp – are losing habitat faster than they can reproduce.

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So if you’d like to join us in our quest to encourage our native bees – and see your garden explode with blossoms as a result - please provide a healthy habitat for them by purchasing one of our custom-designed Creative Woodcraft Solitary Bee Houses!

At Creative Woodcraft we provide a selection of products that will make raising Bumble Bees, Leafcutter Bees and Native Bees fun, easy and economical:

Two styles of Creative Woodcraft Solitary Bee Houses, each of which can easily pollinate a large area of garden;

Starter colonies of Leafcutter Bee Cells/ Cocoons (shipped only October thru end of December until supplies run out);

Bumble Bee Nesting Boxes - You may want to help your flowering fruit trees and gardens by providing a comfy nesting site to Bumble Bees.

ENCOURAGING BUMBLE BEE POLLINATION IN YOUR GARDEN AND ON YOUR PROPERTY IS A VERY EFFECTIVE AND NATURAL WAY TO INCREASE BOTH YEILDS AND CROP SIZES.

We can all use a little more pollination!!


Chapter I Promoting and Fostering Bumble Bees on Your Property

Encouraging Bumble Bee pollination of your property is a very effective and natural way to increase both yields and crop sizes. Creative Woodcraft actively supports the fostering of bumble bees on your property. Imported from England to pollinate red clover, the clock has turned full circle – now commercial growers can easily foster their own bumble bee populations, so enjoying the benefits first gained by pastoral farmers over a century ago.

The 1885 liberation of bumblebees in Canterbury specifically to pollinate red clover made agricultural history: it was the first time an insect had been deliberately released to pollinate a particular flower. In many ways bumble bees are superior pollinators to honey bees because their larger, furrier bodies collect more pollen from the stamens and make better contact with the pistils than do honey bees or other insects. Though specialist pollinators, bumble bees can be encouraged to play a larger part in the pollination of orchard crops, and they are important agents of cross-pollination through their multiple visits to different plants of the same species.

Population “Population in the field is the maximum the environment can carry at the moment, but from the commercial grower’s point of view there are hardly ever enough bumble bees around to pollinate to the levels they ideally would desire,” says entomologist Dr Barry Donovan, of Donovan Scientific Insect Research. Intrigued by the bee’s industrious yet highly-secretive lifestyle, Dr Donovan has been researching them for the last 25 years.

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Bumble bees rely almost entirely on flowering plants for food and their very existence is dependent on gaining adequate supplies of nectar and pollen, or `bee bread.’ Flowers must be visited frequently with pollen supplying the proteins, while nectar provides the sugar necessary for energy. “The major reason populations are not larger is they don’t always have blooming plants to forage upon, combined with the lack of suitable nesting sites where the fertilised queen can establish a new colony,” says Barry Donovan. Nests

Creative Woodcraft Bumble Bee Nesting Box

Bombus Ruderatus Location can help separate the species, as B ruderatus is found all over New Zealand (except for Stewart Island), while B. hortorumis found mainly in Canterbury, Otago and Southland although it was recently released in Palmerston North and Marlborough.

Unlike honey bee colonies, those of bumble bees do not survive from year to year – they are established quite independently each spring by the new generation of bumblebee queens reared during the previous summer. These queens survive the winter by hibernating in the ground, venturing forth from about September when awakened by warm spring days. As soon as they emerge, it is important they find a source of nectar, as inability to find adequate nourishment can drastically reduce field bumble bee populations.

“Commercial orchards or market gardens presently are not good places to find bumblebees because they require this continuity of bloom, right from early spring to the end of summer. Orchards and market gardens are often monocultures – once the crop’s flowering period has finished, no other flowers bloom, as growers often spray or mow the pasture under the trees.”

Species

Location can help separate the species, as B ruderatus is found all over New Zealand (except for Stewart Island), while B. hortorumis found mainly in Canterbury, Otago and Southland although it was recently released in Palmerston North and Marlborough.

Four species of bumble bees are now established in New Zealand: Bombus terrestris, the large earth bumble bee, is found all over the country , and is very distinctive through its black waist and broad yellow-orange band across its abdomen, as no other bumble bee has a black waist combined with this broad yellow-orange abdominal band. The large garden bumble bee and Bombus hortorum, the small garden bumblebee both have long tongues and yellow waists. The least common is the short-haired bumble bee, Bombus subterraneus, usually smaller than the other species and generally black or with little yellow colouring and found only around inland Canterbury and Otago. 10

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Buzz Pollinating The powerful bumble bee buzz allows them to “buzz pollinate” the anthers of kiwifruit and other blossoms. The bee rakes up a bunch of anthers, holding them against its body with its leg and “buzzes” them – the hard plates of its exoskeleton vibrates, and the amount of energy transferred from the buzzing bee causes the pollen to literally explode outward, covering the bee in pollen. Phasellus sceleris

Vivamus Pulvinsar

Donec Miamds

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Quisque ac erat massa. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Cras hendrerit urna id eros suscipit porttitor. In quis diam mauris.

Quisque ac erat massa. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Cras hendrerit urna id eros suscipit porttitor. In quis diam mauris.

Since 1985

Since 1975

Since 1956

Cold weather workers Bumble bees work very long hours, foraging from dawn to dusk in search of nectar and pollen even on cold, rainy or foggy days which prevent other insects from flying. Despite being cold-blooded, bumble bees are able to produce their own body heat chemically and by muscular activity. They maintain a thoracic temperature between 35-40 degrees Celsius through enzymes in the flight muscles which break down certain sugars and release energy in the form of heat, and this enzyme is not present in the muscles of honey bees. They may also “warm up” for flight by decoupling their wings from the flight muscles, and produce warmth through an action akin to shivering. Even at temperatures below zero, bumble bees may still be flying. Their durability is very important as far as orchardists or home gardeners are concerned, says Barry Donovan: “From early springtime right through to early summer the weather can change dramatically during the day – temperatures can plummet, greatly affecting honey bees, which won’t fly below 10 degrees Celsius. This is especially important for kiwifruit growers during its brief late November flowering period – in a cold, wet season, and bumble bees may well be the only insect pollinators visiting their flowers.”

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Continuous Food Source Needed

Modern Style Solitary Bee House This handcrafted New Zealand made Solitary Bee House is designed to hang from a wall fence or tree, or be mounted on top of a post at flower or shrub level using a wooden post mounting sleeve.

Since 1985

Modern Style Solitary Bee House / closed This handcrafted New Zealand made Solitary Bee House is designed to hang from a wall fence or tree, or be mounted on top of a post at flower or shrub level using a wooden post mounting sleeve.

Since 1934

Traditional Style Solitary Bee House This handcrafted New Zealand made Solitary Bee House is designed to hang from a wall fence or tree, or be mounted on top of a post at flower or shrub level using a wooden post mounting sleeve.

“Providing continuous food sources is a sure way to attract queens, to provide for her workers and maintain higher populations. The home gardener can plant up areas surrounding the garden or orchard with a wide range of flowering plants, shrubs and trees. Colonies with plenty of food produce around twice as many new queens and 50% more males, although these plantings may be dictated by the location.” To encourage bumble bee numbers long-term, the flowering plants in the area should be evaluated and any gaps filled with suitable plants. Bumble bee pollination can also be fostered by buying in viable nest with active queens, and growers will then certainly be able to synchronise bumble bee foraging with the blossom of their crops. If apples bloom in August/September, it may well be only the newly-active founding queens working, as they spend much of their time brooding the first generation, and it will be five weeks before workers emerge and begin foraging. Rosemary Read a raiser of bumble bees says growers wanting to foster bumble bee numbers have already got queen bumble bees on their properties: “It just means growing the right flowering crops to feed them when they wake up, and providing them with nesting boxes.” Diversity in flowering plants is really important to foster if growers want to get the best bumble bee numbers, she adds. So if you’d like to join us in our quest to encourage our bumble bees, solitary bees and native bees – and would like to see your garden explode with blossoms as a result – please provide a healthy habitat for them by purchasing one of our custom-designed Creative Woodcraft Solitary Bee Houses! At Creative Woodcraft we provide a selection of products that will make raising bumble bees, leafcutter bees and native bees fun, easy and economical: Two styles of Creative Woodcraft solitary bee houses, each of which can easily pollinate a large area of garden;

Since 1955

Traditional Style Solitary Bee House / closed This handcrafted New Zealand made Solitary Bee House is designed to hang from a wall fence or tree, or be mounted on top of a post at flower or shrub level using a wooden post mounting sleeve.

Starter colonies of leafcutter bee cells/cocoons (shipped only October thru end of December until supplies end); Bumble bee nesting boxes – you may want to help your flowering fruit trees and gardens by providing a comfy nesting site to bumble bees. ENCOURAGING BEE POLLINATION IN YOUR GARDEN AND ON YOUR PROPERTY IS A VERY EFFECTIVE AND NATURAL WAY TO INCREASE BOTH YEILDS AND CROP SIZES.

Since 1981

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We can all use a little more pollination!! Creative Woodcraft

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Leafcutter Bees Females are said to be solitary nesters because they do not co-operate to make nests, and unlike honey bees there is no worker caste. However females like to make their nests in close proximity to other nesting females, so the species is said to be gregarious. This characteristic means that when bees emerge for the first time, most females will tend to nest back in the holes they emerged from or close by, so that nesting populations tend to persevere from year to year. Lucerne Leafcutting Bees The life cycle of lucerne leafcutting bees is quite different to that of honey bees. Leafcutting bees overwinter as hibernating fully-fed prepupae (= grubs), each in a cocoon surrounded by pieces of leaf. As temperatures rise in spring the prepupae gradually change into pupae and then into a male or female bee. By about late October in warmer parts of the country the bees chew their way out, the sexes mate, and the females begin to search for blind-ended tunnels about 6 mm in diameter and 80-120 mm long in which to build new cells. After cleaning the tunnels of loose debris females then carry in about 8-10 oval pieces of soft, flexible leaf pieces to divide line and cap their brood cells. They cut the leaves with their scissor-like mandibles, making smooth, circular or oval cuts from the edges of leaves that are about 12mm in diameter. Just before she finishes cutting it, the female starts to beat her wings, so she is already flying by the time the leaf fragment is severed. How cool is that?? The leaf pieces are then cemented together with salivary secretions and leaf resins. (Some of their favourite leaves are lucerne, lotus roses, green ash, lilac, red bud and Virginia creeper), but they don’t appear to be too choosey. Please don’t begrudge this housing material to these hard-working mothers! These missing leaf bits don’t damage the plant in any way.

The leaf pieces can be easily seen partly rolled up under the bodies of females as they enter their nesting tunnels. Once the cup is complete the females carry pollen in special hairs under their abdomen (the rear part of the body), into the nest tunnels, and the pollen is stored in the cup and is moistened with nectar. Like the leaf pieces, the pollen is very visible as the females enter their tunnels. An egg is then laid on the stored pollen and nectar, and the cell is closed with several circular pieces of leaf. In sunny weather of about 20 degrees C or more, a female bee can make more than one cell a day, and in several weeks can fill a nest hole with 10-12 cells. She then may go on to make more cells in a second, and even a third nest hole. Within a couple of days the eggs hatch to small larvae (= grubs) which set about to eat all the pollen and nectar within about a week, after which they each spin a cocoon around themselves. If the cells are made before about the end of December, the fullygrown larvae may then develop straight into new bees which will emerge and re-nest that same summer, but if eggs are laid after the end of December, the great majority of progeny turn into the overwintering prepupae. By about a few weeks after emerging the males have usually dispersed from the nesting site, but females will continue nesting until the end of March. Flowers favoured by females are the small pea-flower-shaped types such as lucerne, lotus and clover, but they will also readily visit many others, for example daisy-types, and our native Carmichaelias (native brooms), and various species of Hebe. Females prefer to forage on flowers very close to nest sites, so they often can be seen on flowers in the home garden. However if suitable flowers are not available nearby, females will fly up to a kilometre to collect nectar and pollen. However, not all females make cells that grow live prepupae because of perhaps a failure to lay eggs, and in addition there is a very small native parasitic wasp only 1 mm long that can kill larvae and overwintering prepupae. The result is that nest tunnels gradually become clogged with leaves and old cocoons, so best management practice is to take apart the nesting trays any time between April and about September, and remove old nesting material, so that the females that emerge during the coming nesting season have clean tunnels in which to build new cells. At Creative Woodcraft we only promote the use of Solitary Bee House Nesting Tray Systems as they allow you to examine each tunnel and check on the state of your Leafcutter bees and any other native bees that may have taken up residence. By removing the bee cocoons, you can remove all debris and mites that may be in the tunnel. At Creative Woodcraft we do not endorse drilled nesting holes in wood as these cannot be cleaned or inspected!

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We suggest purchasing 50 leafcutter bee cells / cocoons to guarantee that you get a good colony going within your Solitary bee house, this should produce about 30 males and 20 females, but because the cells can’t be sexed, the numbers of each sex may vary. Of the 20-odd females, perhaps about half should establish nests in the solitary bee house, but depending on a number of factors such as the weather at the time of emergence, and the particular location of the Solitary Bee House, some females always migrate to look for nest sites elsewhere. Old sheds with nooks and crannies that might be of the right size for a nest can be particularly attractive. If some females do make nests elsewhere, this is not bad news because some new females that hatch from these nests may well find their way back to the Solitary Bee House.

Leafcutting Bee Cells Leafcutting Bee Cells containing dormant Leafcutting bees are shipped between October 1st thru to December 14th 2012 They are offered for sale in sets of x 25 We sugest purchasing two sets to guarantee that you get a good colony going. As supplies are limited Leafcutting Bee Cell orders are processed on a first come first served basis.

Consider providing a second Solitary Bee House to encourage those females that may migrate to look for nest sites elsewhere on your property.

Orders for Leafcutting Bee Cells recieved outside of this time frame will be placed in a hold file and shipped during the first week of October 2012 in the order recieved.

Solitary Bee Houses should be sited in a sunny spot and anywhere from just above the ground to about head-height. The more isolated the Solitary Bee House is from buildings and shrubs etc. the less likely emerging females will be attracted away to search for nest sites elsewhere. A concrete path leading to a clothesline in the middle of a lawn will provide both isolation, and sunbathing sites for females who love to warm up on sun-baked surfaces.

Since 1955

Leafcutter bees are non-aggressive, medium-sized, solitary cavity nesters, and will readily take up residence in our Creative Woodcraft Solitary Bee Houses. Yes, females do have stings, but the stings are only ever used if and when a bee somehow is accidentally pressed against the skin, and the sting is very mild compared to that of a honey bee. Also the sting has no barbs so it doesn’t stick in the skin. Stings are so infrequent and are of such little consequence that nobody working with the bees ever wears protective clothing. All-in-all the characteristics of the lucerne leafcutting bee mean that it is a fascinating insect to have nesting on a property because the females can be safely observed by all and sundry as they go about their foraging and nesting activities. Also of course, they provide pollination for a wide range of plants both introduced and native.

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Chapter III Solitary Bee House Inhabitants

Creative Woodcraft solitary bee house has four different diameters of nesting tunnels. 4 mm diameter These tunnels should be favoured by our three largest species of native New Zealand bees of the genus Hylaeus. These are Hylaeus capitosus, H. relegatus and H. agilis. Both sexes of all three species have different yellow markings on the otherwise black face, and so are sometimes called yellow-faced bees. All three species occur throughout the country, and collectively they forage on a wide range of both native and introduced flowers. The life cycle of all three species is much like that of the lucerne leafcutting bee, but two major differences are that the females carry their pollen internally in a crop, and the cells are made from a thin, filmy cellophane-like material which is exuded from the mouthparts of the females.

6 mm diameter If you have purchased 50 lucerne leafcutting bee cells, the cells will be distributed among these tunnels, and females that emerge will prefer to make nests in these tunnels. However once in a while our largest species of Hylaeus, H. relegatus, may occupy a tunnel. Also, there are two species of tube-nesting solitary wasps which may also occur. One is the native small mason wasp Pison morosum, which makes cells of mud within which it stores spiders, and the other is the immigrant eumenid wasp Ancistrocerus gazella, which also makes cells of mud, but which stores leafroller caterpillars.

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8 mm diameter

Summary.

Our largest native mason wasp, Pison spinolae, which like its smaller relative, makes cells of mud and stores spiders, will favour this diameter. When making cells the females emit a loud `zizzing’ sound which can be heard from several metres away.

Creative Woodcraft Solitary Bee House with four diameters of nesting hole has the capacity to host 6 species of bees and 3 possibly several more species of wasps. By beginning with lucerne leafcutting bees which will emerge from the trap nest there is a very high probability of nesting action from at least one species in the first year, and the potential for more species to appear later. All species of bees visiting flowers will be enhancing the level of pollination, and the removal of leafroller larvae by one species of wasp will help reduce damage to some leaves and fruits. For those who don’t like spiders the mason wasps will be seen as beneficial, but of course spiders catch a good number of insects that can be damaging. All told, if even just a few of the species of bees and wasps inhabit your trap nest, there should be plenty of activity to observe and entertain.

10 mm diameter In January and February 2006 the European wool- carder bee Anthidium manicatum was found to be present at Napier and Nelson, and more recently it has been observed in Auckland, Palmerston North, Blenheim, and Christchurch. Within the foreseeable future it will probably colonise most of the settled areas of the country. The species is rather closely related to the lucerne leafcutting bee and has a similar life cycle, but instead of making cells of pieces of leaf, the females scrape, or card, fibres off the surface of `woolly’ plants such as species of mints in the family Lamiaceae. The fibres are packed into cavities in plant material (and also aluminium window frames), where they look like masses of wool, and cells are formed within the fibres. Tunnels of 10 mm diameter should be acceptable to female wool-carder bees.

Acknowledgements: Barry J. Donovan, Entomologist.

Male wool-carder bees are unlike the males of any other insect in New Zealand, because they hover among and chase other insects away from patches of flowers such as purple linaria, Linaria purpurea. This plant is common in many domestic gardens where the metre+ tall stems produce masses of small purple flowers from spring until autumn. Female wool-carder bees love to forage on the flowers for both pollen and nectar, so by chasing other flower-visiting insects away, the males make more food available to the females. The pay-off for the males is that they get the opportunity to mate with the foraging females. In a home garden one can frequently see male bees attacking and driving away even big insects such as queen bumble bees.

Organic Pathways, Mark Hill (http://www.organicpathways.co.nz)

In addition to the bees and wasps mentioned above, several other species of native, solitary wasps might occasionally make nests in some of the larger tunnels.

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