Leaf cutting bee help URGENT

BerghillBerghill Posts: 2,831

Just started to prick out some very valuable seedlings, in desperate need of doing. Found that a leaf cutting bee has filled the pot with grubs all neatly wrapped in leaves. What can I do? I do not want to kill them but we are talking a lot of money here, if I can get these seedlings to selling size.

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  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,115

    Your call, I'm afraid.  Can you not tip everything out of the pot, extricate the seedlings and put the soil and grubs back in the pot?

  • BerghillBerghill Posts: 2,831

    The cylinders with the grubs in are sealed so I assume that no further action is needed  by the parent bee? If that is so then replanting(?) the cylinders in  another pot and putting it back where it came from is what I have had to do. Never had this before in seed pots.

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,762

    Can't advise you in any way about the bees Berghill but what you're doing sounds an ideal solution assuming you can separate them successfully from your seedlings. image

     Hope there's not too many casualties - of either kind!

    to walk through a forest is to touch the past

  • BerghillBerghill Posts: 2,831

    Me too, we are talking 3 to 400 quids worth of plants.........if I can get them to grow on from seedling size to selling which is not easy.

    Been told that omce the pellets are sealed the grub stays there until Spring,so hopefully they will be ok.

  • Alina WAlina W Posts: 1,445

    Good luck on both counts, Berghill!

  • JIMMMYJIMMMY Posts: 238

    I have them every year in my greenhouse, filling pots with their pupae which hatch the following year, they are a real pest!

    They are harmless but they fly back and forth with their cut up leaves.

    I catch them and keep them in a plastic bottle and let them go on my way to work, it is usless just letting them go a short distance away as they are soon back carring leaves to "their" pot, but by taking them some miles away they do not return!

  • Mike160304Mike160304 Posts: 53
    Berghill wrote (see)

    Just started to prick out some very valuable seedlings, in desperate need of doing. Found that a leaf cutting bee has filled the pot with grubs all neatly wrapped in leaves. What can I do? I do not want to kill them but we are talking a lot of money here, if I can get these seedlings to selling size.

    Hi Jimmy,

    I have not done this myself, so someone please correct me if I am wrong.

    Get a cardboard toilet roll core and close off one end with a bit of cardboard fixed with duct tape.  Put the leaf-wrapped grubs in.  Tape or glue Kleenex or toilet tissue over the open end, so that the end is covered by the tissue only, to be a bit porous.

    Store the roll/rolls somewhere dry and away from ants, birds, etc, like a shed, over the winter.  In spring the chrysalises should produce bees and the bees should get out through the tissue.

    The bees are obviously beneficial to the garden but if you don't want the leaf-cutters  there, you might want a bee-friendly friend to have the rolls and be the midwife!

    For next year, put your pots in a plastic bag so that the bees cannot get into them.  

    You could provide an alternative with bee houses but you might not be into that!

    Mike

  • Mike160304Mike160304 Posts: 53

    Berghill - Sorry, I see that you are not Jimmy, and that you have already re-housed the leaf-wrapped grubs.  Well done.

    Turning this around - If Leaf-Cutter Bees will nest in flower pots, why am I bothering with making bee houses?

    Can you help me with this?  Material, height, diameter, hole diameter of the flower pot?  And how was it sitting, alone, right way up, upside down?  i.e. why did they want to nest in it, it must have offered some protection, presumably, and they usually nest in holes?

    Mike

  • BerghillBerghill Posts: 2,831

    Seed pot is/was one of those half pots (usually sold as Cactus pots). It was on a set of shelves along with many others on a south east facing shed side. Peat free compost with a good half inch gravel topping and obviously a fair number of seedlings in it. Also found pupa in other 7 cm square pots in the same area. These had compost in them but were actuallly waiting to be emptied onto the compost heap.

    We have cobbled patha in many areas of the garden and they are stuffed wth bee larva.

    This acre of land has probably never been sprayed with anything, certainly not for the last 40 years as the previous owners were pig farmers, the next ones did not garden and we have not sprayed in the 18 years we have been here making the garden.

  • Mike160304Mike160304 Posts: 53

    Berghill:

    So as I understand it, the pots were standing, singly, right way up, with their contents, on an outdoor shelf facing SE (that's favourite with "my" bees) and the bees must have burrowed down, as there were no ready-made holes, from the top surface and through the contents to the bottom, as they could not have got in through the hole in the bottom.

    Is that right?

    The pots are red earthenware, not plastic, or?

    Many thanks for your help.  Your home acre sounds very bee-friendly indeed.

    Mike

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