The effect of climate change on Mason Bees.
Whether it’s climate change or cyclical weather patterns I can’t say, but something is pushing warmer winters and an earlier start to spring, ten days earlier, across much of the Northern Hemisphere. This is extending our growing season, in the Northern Hemisphere, by ten days on average over the last three decades.
The pollination season will also start earlier. Don’t decide when to put out your bees based on the calendar or on temperature. Watch your plants, when the plum trees start blooming, if you don’t have plum trees, watch the dandelions. Let us take a quick side trip.
Gardeners say plant your potatoes when you see the dandelions, the same is true for the first release of your Mason Bees. Put out some of your cocoons when you see the dandelions blooming. Dandelions are a God sent for bees; they bloom from early spring to late summer and provide your bees with nectar and buckets of sticky pollen, and dandelions flowers close up at night and during bad weather, so the pollen is not washed away by morning dew or heavy rain.
A longer growing season allows plants to grow bigger, stronger, faster, which is good for combating CO2 emissions, and for farmers raising food crops, but earlier springs, mean drier soils in April, May, and June.
When this greening starts earlier in the calendar year, more moisture will be sucked from the soil than if the season starts later. As winter wanes and leaves start to peek out early from branches, trees and plants increasingly draw water from the soil and move it into the sky — a process known as evapotranspiration.
This earlier spring greening can leave soils drier in mid-spring and summers; just when your mason bees need mud. Don’t be afraid to water more often, both your plants and bare soil so your mason bees have mud.
This will also increase the need to combine Mason Bees and Leaf Cutter bees in your pollination plan. Mason Bees (spring Bees) when there’s mud and Leaf Cutter bees (summer bees) when things dry up.
Two bees, one that uses mud when there are few leaves, for early spring crops like fruit, and another bee that uses leaves for nesting when mud is hard to come by and pollinates summer crops like vegetables. Spring and summer bees; it is almost as if someone knew what they were doing.
For us release two weeks earlier, Make sure there is mud available. Put out your summer bees earlier.
Plan around climate change and you’ll be fine.