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VIDEO – New Discoveries Inside a Mason Bee Nesting Block

We discovered some incredible new footage of mason bees and pollen mites inside our nesting block and learn about the 6 stages of a pollen mites life.


Jacqueline from UC Riverside provides a deeper insight into pollen mites life cycle with the 6 stages of their life.

There are six life stages of these mites (egg, larva, protonymph, deutonymph, tritonymph, and adults), but when there is enough food and moisture in the nests there are usually only five life stages because they will skip the deutonymph stage.

All life stages of these mites feed, only the deutonymph (second immature stage after the larva stage) do not feed.

In my experience, when mites start to yellow it is because they are unhealthy, in the lab it seems to be related to mold developing in the pollen. Also, dead mites look yellow. The phoretic deutonymph is a brownish color, they look yellow in the slide mounted photo due to the microscope lighting and setting I was using and my phone camera. This life stage is differently colored because they have a thicker exoskeleton and it helps them survive outside the nest.

The SEM photo in the video was of a phoretic deutonymph, they are not adults, they are an immature life stage that disperses on the adult bees.

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