Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Mason Bee House Instructions

Mason Bee House Instructions

Mason Bees

Unlike Honey Bees, Mason Bees will fly in the rain to collect pollen and food for themselves and their future young.  This is a never-ending chore for Mason Bees.

If you have any problem attracting Mason Bees, you can buy them from your local nursery,
like Gordon's Garden Center in Yelm, or Crown Bee's in Woodinville.

Mason Bees thrive in a clean environment.  They also need a little sunlight and a secure place for their hive/house, so it won't swing around in the wind.

The size of the holes that Mason Bees use is 5/16".  This is extremely important.

Scientific Information:

  • Mason Bees emerge from the nest in early spring and mate.
  • The male bees die off.
  • Female bees gather pollen and return to the hive/house.
  • Females deposit pollen at the back of each hole in the hive/house and lay eggs near the pollen.
  • Females then seal the egg and food supply in with mud or clay.
  • This process is repeated until the hole is completely filled.
  • The depth of the hole determines how many eggs can be deposited in the hole, as well as the male/female ratio of the bees.
  • Male eggs are deposited in the front of the hive/house, so they are the first to emerge in the spring.
How to Clean Your Mason Bee House:

The most popular way is to put paper sleeves in your Mason Bee House.  These can be replaced each spring after the bees emerge.

We use plastic straws in our area, as wasps will chew through paper sleeves and destroy the baby bees in the hives.  You can line the plastic straws with parchment paper.  Just wrap small pieces of parchment paper around a pencil and slip the pieces into the straws.  You can clean out the straws and replace the sleeves after the bees come out in the spring.

Place your Mason Bee Hive/HOuse facing east.  This way they will get the morning sun.

Make sure there is mud or clay nearby.  It needs to be within 100 yards of their house, so they can easily seal in their eggs and food supply.

Mason Bees will pollinate any type of flowering plant.  Five (5) Mason Bees will do the pollination of a whole hive of honey bees.

Mason Bees are native to the Pacific Northwest.

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