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Pollinator Paradise      Pollination Ecology at UI    The Solitary Bee Web   
 Rearing Solitary Bees    Suppliers    References   Bee Gardens    FAQ   Links   Contact Us  
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Bee Nests and Accessories
  Bee Photo Gallery  
Trapnesting Wasps and Bees

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Solitary Bees: An Addition to Honey Bees

Table of Contents (Scroll down):

Announcements
Introduction
What are Solitary Bees?
Rearing and Using Hornfaced Bees and
Orchard Mason Bees = Blue Orchard Bees

Suppliers
References of Interest to Bee and Pollination Lovers  
Science Projects for Kids and Teens
Notes and Correspondence from Readers
Frequently Asked Questions 
Links to Other Information on the Web
    General
    Additional/Alternate Pollinators
    Bumblebees
    Primarily Honey Bees
Contact Us

Want to see more photos of Osmia?  Try these sites:
Pollinator Paradise Bee Photo Gallery
USDA/ARS / Logan Bee Lab
International Pollination Systems 
Texas A&M video on hornfaced bees
Tarencotta Custom Tile

Have you seen this bee?
Osmia aglaia on Himalayan Blackberry near Medford, OR

O. aglaia is a pollinator of brambles, including raspberries and blackberries, in western Oregon and California.  We don't know if their range extends through western Washington, including the Seattle area, and north.

We are working with a Berry Grower in Oregon to increase managed populations of this bee for berry pollination.  Read about our project.

O. aglaia are metallic blue, green or rust/bronze in color.  They nest in tunnels in wood about 3/8 - 1/4 inches in diameter. They are active as adults in late spring, while Rubus is in bloom.

There is a developing market for native bee pollinators.  If you live on the west coast and know of populations of Himalayan Blackberry.  We may be able to help with nesting materials.

O. aglaia sunning
Photos by Karen Strickler

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Please read our 

Disclaimer

Announcements
Blue Orchard Bee Cocoons for the 2014 season are available.   2014 pricesAbout our bees

Penn State University has released a preliminary video showcasing their research about using native bees for orchard pollination.  Click here to see it.

Is it a bee?  The Logan bee lab helps you distinguish bees from other similar insects.
A bee identification exercise to try with master gardeners, kids and other groups.  

Krombein's Trap-Nesting Wasps and Bees. On line!  Read this classic study of twig nesting bees and wasps.

Follow our study to increase the Oregon Berry Bee, Osmia aglaia, for pollination of cane fruits.  http://oregonberrybee.blogspot.com/

Read our Osmia management guide, including winter management of Osmia cocoons, and Feeding Osmia with sugar water when bloom is scarce.  Download a 2009 Osmia management Calendar to print!  (update for 2010 available in January).

A bee identification exercise to try with master gardeners, kids and other groups.         Visit our Bee Photo Gallery

Need a gift for a Nature Lover? Want to help conserve native bees?
Try our BINDERBOARDClick to Learn more.
Books on Osmia management; large and small nests; nest liners.  

Learn more about native bees; get involved in a world-wide pollination project:
The Great Sunflower Project, (San Francisco State University)

Concerned about colony collapse disorder? What can you do to help pollinators?  See our FAQs.

Are you managing native blue orchard bees, introduced hornfaced bees, or both?  We are trying to determine how well established hornfaced bees are, especially in the western USA.   If you have hornfaced bees, please contact us and let us know where you are, how many you have, and what proportion of your orchard bees are hornfaced bees.  For information on how to distinguish nests and cocoons of the two types of orchard bees, click here.

Need additional blueberry pollinators?  Try alfalfa leafcutting bees.  Hornfaced bees, Osmia cornifrons, allegedly also work.  In our experience Blue Orchard Bees, Osmia lignaria, in the Portland area and in Washington State are more attracted to Big leaf Maple, Acer macrophyllum, than to blueberry.  Please let us know what your experience has been with alternative blueberry pollinators.
Blue orchard bees are excellent cherry pollinators
Try setting out artificial nests with a variety of hole sizes, and see what twig-nesting bees are present in your area already. 

Should bee species be moved across country or between countries? Read about the issues :   "For Nonnative Crops, Whence Pollinators of the future?"

Is it a bee?  The Logan bee lab helps you distinguish bees from other similar insects.
A bee identification exercise 
to try with master gardeners, kids and other groups.
Pollinator Paradise Bee Photo Gallery

Introduction:

The hornfaced bee, Osmia cornifrons, is widely used in Japan for apple pollination. It was imported to the US and is being used particularly in Eastern and Midwestern states.  The orchard mason bee, also called the Blue Orchard Bee, Osmia lignaria, is a native US species found in most parts of the country, and also widely used for orchard pollination.  These Osmia bees are more efficient pollinators of some crops than are honey bees. Pollination of an acre of apples requires either 600 hornfaced bees (300 to 400 females), about 250 female blue orchard bees, or 20,000 or more honey bees.  These bees are called "solitary" bees because they do not live in colonies as do honey bees. Solitary bees do not produce honey or wax, but they are relatively docile and not apt to sting, they are immune from tracheal and varroa mite attack, and they can be reared quite easily by homeowners and farmers. 

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What are Solitary Bees?
bulletDiversify With Pollen Bees (Suzanne Batra, 1994)
bulletThe NBII (National Biological Information Infrastructure) Pollinators Project
  including information about bees and wasps 
bulletThe Bug Guide's bee pages.  Lots of great photos.  Visit the other tabs at the top of the site for taxonomy and other information
bulletThe Great Sunflower Project, (San Francisco State University) bee guides
bulletSolitary Bees for Orchard Pollination (Suzanne Batra, 1997)
bulletPollen bees are world-wide!  See a list of bees that pollinate alfalfa in Russia.
bulletSome Science Projects for Kids and Teens
bulletThe New Mexico Native Bee Pollinator Project 
bulletSolitary Bees and Things - Nigel Jones, focus on bees in Britain
bullet Understanding Native Bees - University of Maine Bulletin

Rearing and Using Hornfaced Bees and 
Orchard Mason Bees = Blue Orchard Bees
bulletManagement of Hornfaced Bees for Orchard Pollination - A Practical Manual (Suzanne Batra, 1997)
bulletBosch, J. and W. Kemp. 2001. How to Manage the Blue Orchard Bee, Sustainable Ag. Network Handbook series, Book 5. 
This book has excellent color photos, lots of details, and especially good sections on parasites and predators, and on incubation and emergence.  Excellent if you know these bees; a bit technical for a beginner.
Now available free in PDF format at the SARE website:  http://www.sare.org/publications/bob.htm
bullet A Pictorial Guide to Orchard Bee Management  (Karen Strickler, 5/2005)
bullet Feeding Osmia with sugar water when bloom is scarce.  (Steve Dupey, 2009)
bulletA Bee Garden for Attracting Osmia (Karen Strickler, updated 12/07/00)
bullet How to Raise and Manage Orchard Mason Bees for the Home Garden (North Carolina State Univ., 1997)
bulletA Note on the Proper Hole Size for Blue Orchard Mason Bee, Osmia lignaria, Management (Phil Torchio, 1996)
bullet How to Make a Nesting Block (USDA/ARS Bee Labs, Logan UT)
bulletA Few References of Interest to Bee Lovers (Karen Strickler, updated 12/07/00)
bullet Texas A&M video on hornfaced bees
bullet Orchard Mason Bees (Washington State University.)
bulletFAQ:  The bees that I purchased were lethargic when they emerged.  What was wrong?  Recent research provides an answer.
bulletFAQ:  Mites are killing my orchard bees.  Are they the same mites that affect honey bees?  What can I do?

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Suppliers
bulletSuppliers of Pollen Bees, Information, and Products (Karen Strickler, updated December 2004)

Notes and Correspondence from Readers
bulletForsythia Might be a Nectar Source (Diane De Young, April, 1998)
bullet1997 Early-Season Experiences Rearing Hornfaced Bees in West Virginia (May 31, 1997)
bulletOngoing West Virginia Investigations into the Hornfaced Bee for Orchard Pollination (May 31, 1997)
bulletHoney as a Supplemental Food Source for Hornfaced Bees (Bill Mack, April 25, 1997)
bulletKeeping out tiny Monodontomerus wasp parasites (Raymond Williams, January 1999)
bulletBlue orchard bees increase cherry yields (Robert White, January 2006)

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Other Information on the Web

General
bulletThe Pollination Homepage (Dave and Janice Green)  Includes excellent photo gallery.
bullet Forgotten Pollinators Campaign (Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum)
bulletBeehoo (links to bee webpages around the world)
bulletThe Pollination Ecology web (Alfalfa pollination, management of leafcutting bees, research philosophy)
bulletThe Bee Works (Pollination related services from Steve Buchmann and colleagues)
bullet The Xerces Society (Pollinator Conservation Program)
bullet Is it a bee?  The Logan bee lab helps you distinguish bees from other similar insects.
bullet Stinging Insects:  Aacute Pest Control's web site.  Info about and photos of social wasps, carpenter bees, bumble bees, etc.
bulletStinging insect fact sheets from Cornell University
bulletFrequently asked questions about honey bees and insects in general from UC Riverside
bulletHoney bees, other bees, pollination, bee pastures, etc., from the University of Georgia.

Additional/Alternate Pollinators

bullet USDA/ARS / Logan Bee Lab  
bullet Penn State University video about using native bees for orchard pollination.  Click here to see it.
bulletKnox Cellars (Orchard Mason Bee supplier)
bulletPollination for the Home Gardener (Howard Veatch)
bulletAlternative Pollinators - Native Bees (ATTRA site)
bulletBeeDiverse (mason bees and easy to manage nesting trays)
bullet Texas A&M video on hornfaced bees   
bullet Small Carpenter Bees, Ceratina  (University of Florida)
bulletSolitary Bees and Things - Nigel Jones, focus on bees in Britain
bulletManagement of alfalfa leafcutting bees for blueberry pollination (New Brunswick, CA)
bullet Understanding Native Bees - University of Maine Bulletin

More suppliers on the supplier's list

Bumblebees

bulletPlants of Interest to Bumblebees (go to Tom Clothier's Website)
bulletConstructing Bumblebee Nest Boxes (go to Tom Clothier's Website)
bulletAnother set of plans for Bumblebee nest boxes (beetools Website)
bulletThe Wisconsin Bumblebee (go to Paul Oliphant's Website)
bulletLaura Smith's Bumblebee Pages
bulletList of World Bumblebees (Paul Williams, The Natural History Museum, London)
bullet Bumblebees of Washington (Evergreen State University)
bullet Bumble bees of Utah (USDA ARS Bee Biology and Systematics Lab, Logan UT)
bullet The Bees of Maritime Canada (Ag. & Agri. Food Canada, Kentsville, Nova Scotia)

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Primarily Honey Bees

bulletCarl Hayden Bee Research Center (GEARS)
bullet Bee Resource Manual with Emphasis on the Africanized Honey Bee (Armed Forces Pest Mgt. Board)
bulletEssential Oils for Mite Control (West Virginia University)
bullet Bee Pollination of Crops in Ohio (Ohio State Univ.)
bullet List of Beekeeping Resources (Iowa State Univ.)
bullet Bee Research Laboratory (USDA-ARS)
bullet Beekeeping Tips (Mississippi State Univ.)
bulletTexas A&M honeybee information 
bulletPenn State honeybee lab
bulletMid-Atlantic Apiculture Consortium
bulletAfricanized Bees in California (UC Riverside)
bulletAdkins Bee Removal (CA, AZ, NV, TX)

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StudyWeb Site maintained by  Karen Strickler,  pollination ecologist.

Send your comments and questions

For more information,  contact:

Karen Strickler,  
Pollination Ecologist
31140 Circle Dr.
Parma ID 83660
email Dr. Strickler
Dr. Suzanne Batra
USDA ARS 
Beltsville Agricultural Research Center
Beltsville, Maryland
20705

Tell us where you live, whether you have tried solitary bees, and if so, what success you have had. Send photos of your bee management techniques to Dr. Strickler, at the above e-mail address.

When contacting Dr. Batra, please include your postal mailing address so that she can send printed information. This will also provide her some climatic information so that she can offer more localized advice.

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Top of Page  Pollinator Paradise      Pollination Ecology at UI    The Solitary Bee Web   
 Rearing Solitary Bees    Suppliers    References   Bee Gardens    FAQ   Links     Contact Us  
New Mexico Native Bee Pollinator Project
   About Dr. Strickler 
Bee Nests and Accessories
  Bee Photo Gallery  
Trapnesting Wasps and Bees

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Updated Dec. 6, 2014
Copyright
2000  Karen Strickler All rights reserved.        Hit Counter