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20/07/2013 at 12:02

Just started to prick out some very valuable seedlings, in desperate need of doing. Found that a leaf cutting bee has filled the pot with grubs all neatly wrapped in leaves. What can I do? I do not want to kill them but we are talking a lot of money here, if I can get these seedlings to selling size.

20/07/2013 at 12:45

Your call, I'm afraid.  Can you not tip everything out of the pot, extricate the seedlings and put the soil and grubs back in the pot?

20/07/2013 at 13:56

The cylinders with the grubs in are sealed so I assume that no further action is needed  by the parent bee? If that is so then replanting(?) the cylinders in  another pot and putting it back where it came from is what I have had to do. Never had this before in seed pots.

20/07/2013 at 14:14

Can't advise you in any way about the bees Berghill but what you're doing sounds an ideal solution assuming you can separate them successfully from your seedlings.

 Hope there's not too many casualties - of either kind!

20/07/2013 at 17:57

Me too, we are talking 3 to 400 quids worth of plants.........if I can get them to grow on from seedling size to selling which is not easy.

Been told that omce the pellets are sealed the grub stays there until Spring,so hopefully they will be ok.

20/07/2013 at 17:59

Good luck on both counts, Berghill!

22/07/2013 at 22:11

I have them every year in my greenhouse, filling pots with their pupae which hatch the following year, they are a real pest!

They are harmless but they fly back and forth with their cut up leaves.

I catch them and keep them in a plastic bottle and let them go on my way to work, it is usless just letting them go a short distance away as they are soon back carring leaves to "their" pot, but by taking them some miles away they do not return!

26/07/2013 at 11:48
Berghill wrote (see)

Just started to prick out some very valuable seedlings, in desperate need of doing. Found that a leaf cutting bee has filled the pot with grubs all neatly wrapped in leaves. What can I do? I do not want to kill them but we are talking a lot of money here, if I can get these seedlings to selling size.

Hi Jimmy,

I have not done this myself, so someone please correct me if I am wrong.

Get a cardboard toilet roll core and close off one end with a bit of cardboard fixed with duct tape.  Put the leaf-wrapped grubs in.  Tape or glue Kleenex or toilet tissue over the open end, so that the end is covered by the tissue only, to be a bit porous.

Store the roll/rolls somewhere dry and away from ants, birds, etc, like a shed, over the winter.  In spring the chrysalises should produce bees and the bees should get out through the tissue.

The bees are obviously beneficial to the garden but if you don't want the leaf-cutters  there, you might want a bee-friendly friend to have the rolls and be the midwife!

For next year, put your pots in a plastic bag so that the bees cannot get into them.  

You could provide an alternative with bee houses but you might not be into that!

Mike

26/07/2013 at 13:26

Berghill - Sorry, I see that you are not Jimmy, and that you have already re-housed the leaf-wrapped grubs.  Well done.

Turning this around - If Leaf-Cutter Bees will nest in flower pots, why am I bothering with making bee houses?

Can you help me with this?  Material, height, diameter, hole diameter of the flower pot?  And how was it sitting, alone, right way up, upside down?  i.e. why did they want to nest in it, it must have offered some protection, presumably, and they usually nest in holes?

Mike

26/07/2013 at 15:38

Seed pot is/was one of those half pots (usually sold as Cactus pots). It was on a set of shelves along with many others on a south east facing shed side. Peat free compost with a good half inch gravel topping and obviously a fair number of seedlings in it. Also found pupa in other 7 cm square pots in the same area. These had compost in them but were actuallly waiting to be emptied onto the compost heap.

We have cobbled patha in many areas of the garden and they are stuffed wth bee larva.

This acre of land has probably never been sprayed with anything, certainly not for the last 40 years as the previous owners were pig farmers, the next ones did not garden and we have not sprayed in the 18 years we have been here making the garden.

27/07/2013 at 13:13

Berghill:

So as I understand it, the pots were standing, singly, right way up, with their contents, on an outdoor shelf facing SE (that's favourite with "my" bees) and the bees must have burrowed down, as there were no ready-made holes, from the top surface and through the contents to the bottom, as they could not have got in through the hole in the bottom.

Is that right?

The pots are red earthenware, not plastic, or?

Many thanks for your help.  Your home acre sounds very bee-friendly indeed.

Mike

27/07/2013 at 14:21

Plastic pots and definitely no way in through the base for them. Just watched a bee dugging its way down in another pot, will have to put that one somewhere safe when the bee finishes,

Also just went past Lonicera alseuosmoides and  there were over 200 bees of all kinds on it, and that was just on the one side.

27/07/2013 at 15:57

Berghill- the bees must love your friendly ' 5 star hotel' environment. You'll have to put your rates up! 

27/07/2013 at 18:02

We have a friend who is an enthusiastic Honey bee keeper and she keeps wanting to put a hive in our garden. Only one probelm, the Boss, SWIAR, is very allergic to bee stings so sadly we have to decline the offer. Rapid trips to hospital are not my idea of fun.

27/07/2013 at 18:07
Berghill wrote (see)

Plastic pots and definitely no way in through the base for them. Just watched a bee dugging its way down in another pot, will have to put that one somewhere safe when the bee finishes,

Also just went past Lonicera alseuosmoides and  there were over 200 bees of all kinds on it, and that was just on the one side.

Plastic pots!! They are not fussy about staying with traditional materials then!

Fascinating, I have never seen a bee digging, I had assumed that they just found ready-made holes, but I am just a learner at this.

But I mustn't start talking about things I don't know much about, or we shall be here all evening . . . 

Mike

27/07/2013 at 20:10

Mikes advice is very good. The Grubs will feed on the Pollen and Necter that the parent placed in each cell,pupate over winter and then emerge in spring. I have been very successful with a homemade Bug House. Lots of Leafcutter and Mason Bees ( South East facing ) I was potting up young plants yesterday, took a 30 minute break to watch the bees busy at work in the bug house, returned to my pots to find a heap of compost adjacent to a drainage hole and a leafcutter bee hard at work creating a new nest. ( The hole faced South East ) A word of warning, some of my Rose Leaves and a Bonsai Sycamore are full of holes, but who cares ?

27/07/2013 at 21:06

For me one of the greatest sights and sounds is the little mining bees working away on our Snowdrops. It might be only just above freezing, but out they come and the Wood is alive with them. If the temperature drops then they disappear.

Another wonderful sight and sound at the other end of the year, the Ivy flowers on a huge run of the stuff in the hedge row down our lane. On a warm Autumn day it is heaving with bees. So, the plant makes berries, so the birds eat the berries and so we get zillions of Ivy seedlings everywhere, so?

27/07/2013 at 23:28

Composter238 - Nice story, thanks.  We must watch our flower pots more closely!.

Mike

27/07/2013 at 23:31

Berghill - Thanks, I had no idea that any bees come around at snowdrop time, must look for them next year.

Mike

04/08/2013 at 08:32

@Mike160304

Some bees certainly do dig holes. Mining bees for starters. It is how they got their vernacular name. I've watched them 'mine' into a sandy bank to create their nest. Some of these 'solitary' species share a common opening hole, but each bee makes its own chamber in which it stores pollen and lays its eggs. Some of the mining bees are the first bee species to emerge in spring, being pollinators of e.g. willow.

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