In addition to placing our main bee shelter in the field this past Saturday, we also placed small trap-nest Binderboard around the periphery of the fields to see if we can attract Osmia aglaia or other cane fruit pollinators to manageable nests. The bees that use our trap nests will be added to our main managed population next year.
The first place that we visited was a neighbor's barn on the south side of the Sturm's field. We had a few Binderboard there in 2007, and we attracted Osmia lignaria to nest, plus some other species. It's a great place for O. lignaria because south of the barn is a small grove of wild cherry or plum trees, in full bloom last Saturday. Plus, the barn is just the sort of environment where twig nesting bees look for tunnels in wood. This time we introduced some additional O. lignaria cocoons, as well as one 98-hole Osmia Binderboard and one 63-hole Binderboard facing the blooming trees. With any luck, the bees will emerge soon and forage on the cherry, then move over to the raspberry field when it comes into bloom. The photo shows the east side of the barn. We put two small Binderboard, one 14-hole Osmia Binderboard for O. lignaria and one 39-hole leafcutter Binderboard for O. aglaia, on the top left corner of the pile of wood. Click on the photo to see it full resolution., You can just make out the angle of the metal roofs of the Binderboard. They are far enough from the released bees that we can hope they will be used by the native bee population.
Next we drove around the west side of the farm, and left a few small Binderboard on fence posts near large patches of Himalayan Blackberry just outside the farm boundary. That's Rosie in the red plaid jacket putting hooks into a rotting tree stump. Tree trunks are often a good place for trap nests, because beetles attack the tree in the first few years after it dies. However, this tree trunk was in a more advanced stage of decomposition; perhaps too decomposed to attract nesting bees. We'll see.
Joyce Mills (in blue jacket) helped place a Binderboard on a fence post. We put 39-hole leafcutter Binderboard at all of the sites where we stopped, 6 in all. We also put a 14-hole Osmia Binderboard on the tree trunk above and on one of the fence posts near a flowering cherry tree (last photo - flowering tree in the middle right of the frame).
We left the Sturms with 6 more 39-hole and 2 more 14-hole Binderboard to take to their farm in Nahalem. Rosie put most of them out on Sunday. Thanks, Rosie!