I collected these filled mason bee nesting tubes this morning to make room in tiny little House #4.
I set up House #4 last year as an afterthought and it has become a very happenin' place. It's like the dive bar of the Clayton Street bee scene.
This morning, nine of the tubes were sealed, so I carefully took them out while the temperature was still in the 40s and the bees were still sleeping inside. (Mason bees need the temperature to be above 54 degrees to fly.) I replaced the tubes with empty tubes, and brought the filled ones in to label them and store them in the garage. I even photographed them to show how proud I was of the bees' hard work.
However... One of the tubes wasn't actually sealed at all and still had a mama bee inside waiting to warm up and finish her nest. Ooops! When I saw her little antennae pop out the end while I was typing, I snapped a photo but she was shy and ducked back in.
Just another adventure in the life of Heather Harvey, native bee detective! But seriously, when we say mason bees are gentle bees - this is what we're talking about. I carried the tube back outside and put it back in the house. Mama and her brood are back where they belong with the other hipsters in House #4.