Mason bees management in orchards

For my master’s thesis I studied the blue orchard bee (Osmia lignaria) and the hornfaced bee (Osmia cornifrons) in Michigan orchards, and how we can improve their performance as alternative managed pollinators in these systems. I focused on:

  1. Nesting preferences: I evaluated different nesting shelters and nesting substrates to try to find the most attractive combination for bees. At the same time, I tested a recently-developed attractant for mason bees.

  2. Their soil use: I analyzed the texture of the soil that bees bring back to the nest to build the partition between cells. Check out the results here.

  3. Pollen preferences: Mason bees are excellent pollinators of tree-crops, but there are doubts about whether they can be used in other crops. I evaluated their pollen preferences in blueberry fields. You can find the results here.