Monodontomerus wasp. A silent deadly assassin of Red mason bees
I designed my solitary bee boxes to allow for detailed observations to be carried out without hindering the bees themselves, allowing me to make this video and more! Bees are in decline and need as much help as we can give them. That means research and I am learning more all the time and now have a nest box that allows me and others to do just that!
What do these wasps look like?
They are very small and very agile and determined to achieve their sole mission in life. To lay eggs and pass their genes onto the next generation… see below.
A video of the life cycle of the Monodontomerus wasp, (Monos) a parasitoid of red mason bees, which I made to share, because many people will never have seen this before. If not checked they can devastate your red mason bee cocoons. Full instructions on how best to manage them come with my award winning and successful solitary bee nest boxes.
I was asked to give a presentation to BWARS members at their AGM in the World Museum in Liverpool, 2013. For many years I have learnt how to manage and stop Monos killing my Red mason bees. What if I totally disregarded my own management practices, then made a video by actively allowing them access to the inside of my nest boxes and filmed what happened? So I did and called the presentation, The ‘Design and development of educational wild bee nest boxes allowing for observational studies’. I got the idea to continue with the life cycle video as a result of it. The filming had several positive and negative repercussions, some of which I had not envisaged.
Loosing perhaps 150+ bee larvae in cocoons.
Time and effort spent rectifying the actual loss, damage limitation and potential loss of more bees.
This experience enabled me to design the nest boxes to give better protection from the wasps.
Rewrite my instructions to give better management control of them for my customers.
I made several informative videos.
I learnt: How devastating they actually are, more about their emergence times, how determined they are to find cocoons, researched how they actually do find them, how successful they can be and much more.
Never to allow Monos into my nest boxes again! Ever!
More knowledge gained about this parasitoid. For example, this wasp is raised and released as a biological control for sawflies that have been accidentally introduced into North America. So if you had an orchard that needed pollinating by Mason bees and it was near a forest. Orchard growers need the Mason bees and foresters need the Monos. A real conflict of industries!
For more information about solitary bees visit BWARS
National Bee Unit (Food & Environment Research Agency) solitary bees info sheet
For info and link to buy an excellent book Field Guide to the Bees of Great Britain and Ireland by Steven Falk
An extremely useful resource supports this book by a special web site feature within Steve Falk’s Flickr web site which furnishes extra photos and other useful resources to assist with identification.
Interested in Citizen Science and Pollinators, visit the Buzz Club
“All my articles and videos, available free, are funded by my teaching and sales of award winning bumblebee nest boxes, solitary bee boxes, and wormeries. Please help by spreading the word and forwarding this link to your friends and colleagues. http://nurturing-nature.co.uk Thank you” George Pilkington