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With the help from Abigail, from UC Davis, and Jacqueline, from UC Riverside, they helped us identify what we were looking at inside our nesting block and provided some out of this world pictures of microscopic pollen mites.
Here is the video from UC Riverside study of Pollen Mites and Chalkbrood

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 I sent was of a phoretic deutonymph, they are not adults, they are an immature life stage that disperses on the adult bees.

Everyone knows what a honeybee is, but do you know what a solitary bee is? Did you know 90% of bees are SOLITARY? Solitary bees are gaining popularity with backyard gardeners because of how easy they are to care for because they don’t sting and are incredible pollinators. Solitary means each female lays all her own eggs, forages for her own food and makes a nesting chamber for each baby. They do not have a hive or make honey and they have no queen to protect, which makes them friendly and non-aggressive.

Our program makes it easy to become a solitary bee host. You release solitary bees into your yard and rent our nesting blocks for your bees. The success of our program is releasing solitary bees into your ecosystem to help pollinate and enrich your habitat. They do not chew wood and need to find natural holes in your yard to lay their babies. We mark your nesting block with scent to attract them back, but sometimes they’ll lay their babies in other great spots in your yard, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t have many holes plugged. It’s not about how many holes get plugged up, it’s about helping our solitary bee populations and releasing more bees.

Harvesting and cleaning the cocoons and blocks is a critical step when hosting solitary bees to remove harmful predators. When you rent from us we take care of the maintenance and cleaning for you. You keep the black house and the following year, you will just need to reorder an “insert” with a sterilized nesting block and clean bees.

We cleaned over 3 million mason bee cocoons last year and over 40 million leafcutter bees. WATCH HOW!!!
• Our Mason Bee Fall Harvest (why you Rent… we do all the cleaning) –
• Inside a Mason & Leafcutter Block (the importance of why you need to harvest and clean… remove predators)
• Leafcutter Bee Harvest –

Visit our website to learn more

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