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Mason bees

1758 Views 6 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Omie
Today was the first day I saw mason bees flying. Just the males thus far, but the females will be out in force shortly.

Anyone else here keep mason bees are part of their beekeeping experience?
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I dont have to keep them--they're all over the place around here! On my porch and behind my shed. I did buy one of those mason bee hives from a garden catalog and they used it last year but so far I haven't seen any in there.
I have ordered some mason bee cocoons and also some cans and tubes and liners for them. Actually, I got two setups and plan to give one to my best friend on her birthday. She is always sad that she cannot have honeybees where she lives- she'll be so thrilled and delighted by this!

I have seen little blue-black mason bees in my flowers for the past two years, so I know they are living around here somewhere. I figured I might as well boost the local population by adding a few cocoons and a whole bunch of nesting tubes set up in my yard.

I can't wait! What a nice addition to my honeybee hives in my yard. I have my old flower garden, but added a giant veggie garden last year and will be planting 30 blueberry and raspberry bushes this Spring too, plus adding more bee-friendly flowers and veggies. I have a 'bee bath' too, as a water source.

Bjorn- can you give us a little info about providing mud for the mason bees? Tips and suggestions?
Hello Omie,

It's great to hear you getting into mason bees.

Mud can be provided if none is found naturally. You can get mud and make a make-shift container out of a trash can lid, dinner plate, etc. If you sink the plate into the soil, then let the water fill the plate and run off, this has worked for me in the past. A dripping hose, or better yet, one that seeps water into the mud will work fine. A dripping faucet can also provide a place for butterflies and other insects to drink.

Masons will only travel in about a 200-300 yard range from their home. If you have a stream or pond, nothing else is needed, as they will find mud. But if not, you must provide it for them. Masons need three things to thrive. Adequate housing, a chemical free source of early flowing trees (fruit.... but not required), and mud. If they do not have these three requirements, the mason bees will move on to better pasture.
So what's the difference between 'mud' and 'wet soil'?....the amount of organic matter?
Should mud look tannish and be gritty like powdered rock, as opposed to dark colored soggy soil from the garden?
Garden least good garden soil, will not be the mud they are looking for.

They are looking for the mud that dries hard, and is from a constant moisture source. It would be the tannish and gritty description you suggest.
I am seeing more and more little sources of good mud near my home that I never noticed before....I just wasn't looking! ;)
Plus, the nice stream 2 houses over from me should be quite close enough for the bees to forage to. But I always keep a 'bee bath' in my garden full of fresh water anyway.
Still a couple weeks away from first flower blooms here though..... sigh
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