Did you know that there is a type of bee that is native to North America and doesn’t sting? It’s called the Mason Bee, and it is an important part of our ecosystem. These bees play a vital role in pollination, and you can help attract them to your backyard by building Mason Bee Houses! In this blog post, we will discuss the benefits of Mason Bees, how to build a Mason Bee House, and some tips for attracting these bees to your yard.
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What are Mason Bees
Mason Bees are a type of solitary bee that is native to North America. These bees are important pollinators, and they can visit up to 2000 flowers per day! Mason Bees get their name from the fact that they build their nests using mud or masonry materials.
How to Make a Mason Bee House
You can attract Mason Bees to your yard by building a Mason Bee House! This is a simple project that anyone can do, and it will help to increase the pollination in your area. Building a Mason Bee House is also a great way to teach children about the importance of bees in our ecosystem.
How to build a Mason Bee House
To build a Mason Bee House, you will need:
– A block of wood ( Cedar is the best type of wood to use)
– A drill
– Saw (optional)
– Sandpaper (optional)
Once you have gathered these materials, you can begin constructing your Mason Bee House. The first step is to cut a block of wood into two pieces – one that is 12″x12″ and one that is 12″x24″. If you are using a saw, be sure to use a miter box to make the cuts straight.
Next, use a drill to create two rows of holes (each row should have six holes) in the 12″x12″ piece of wood. The holes should be drilled about ¾” from the edge of the wood, and they should be spaced evenly apart.
If you are using a saw, cut two rows of holes (each row should have six holes) in the 12″x12″ piece of wood. The holes should be drilled about ¾” from the edge of the wood, and they should be spaced evenly apart.
Finally, use sandpaper to smooth the edges of the wood. This is an optional step, but it will help to prevent splinters.
If You Don’t Want to Build Your Own…
here are a few Mason Bee Houses that we suggest
Hanging Your Mason Bee House
Here are some tips for getting the mason bee house hung just right:
- Place it in a very sunny, southeast facing position, protected from wind and in the shade, especially if you have warm springs and summers.
- Hang the mason bee house 3 to 5 feet off the ground to avoid splash up when it rains.
- Provide some kind of roof to prevent water from getting into the nesting site and causing mold.
Attract Mason Bees to a Bee House
Here are some tips to attract Mason Bees to your new house:
- Place the bee house in an open area that gets plenty of sun.
- Hang the bee house from a tree or post using wire or string.
- Offer a water source nearby, such as a birdbath or fountain.
- Plant flowering plants that attract mason bees, such as aster, bee balm, black-eyed Susan, and California poppy.
- Learn more about Bee friendly flowers, HERE!
- Avoid using pesticides in your garden, as they can kill mason bees.
When to put out your Bee house
Put your house out when the blossoms are starting to swell and the chance of frost is low.
How to Maintain and Clean a Bee House
You will need to continually monitor and maintain the nesting habitat. This will not only ensure the mason bees are clean but also guarantee their safety. Monitoring and maintenance of a mason bee nest entails the following:
1. Tube Rotation
Irrespective of whether you use tubes or nesting structures for your mason bees, it is vital to ensure a rotation is in place. Sets of tubes and structures should be used in rotation. Set aside a single set for a year and another for the following year. This will give you sufficient time to clean, dry and store a set of nesting before the bees from the previous season emerge. This way you are sure to combat pests, parasites and diseases.
2. Wood Block and Tube Cleaning
Winter is your best time to clean tubes as you prepare for the upcoming year. Previous nests should be cleaned using pipe cleaners and paper inserts replaced. You should even purchase new nesting material if possible. The wood blocks on the other hand should be cleaned using a bleach solution. This will help prevent disease buildup. You will need to mix water and bleach in a ratio of 1 cup bleach against 1 gallon of water. This should be carried out in a well-ventilated area. After cleaning it, rinse well and leave it to dry. Wood blocks and natural reeds should be used for two years then replaced. Otherwise, disease carrying germs can easily be passed over from one season to the next.
When to Clean a House
The best time to wash mason bee cocoons is in the months of October and December. This is the best time since the mason bees will not emerge from their cocoons, especially if kept within room temperature.
Cocoons have to be gently but thoroughly cleaned until there is no mud or mites in sight.
Cleaning will also help remove pollen and any other unwanted material that have accumulated around cocoons. Cleaning helps ensure the cocoons are disease-free.
It is also worth noting that post cleaning storage bags or containers, should be drilled to allow air to flow freely in and out. During release, cocoons should not be exposed to sunlight or rain. They should also be well-protected from predators.
If you’re looking for a way to help the environment and get some free pest control, building a mason bee house may be the perfect solution for you. Mason bees are gentle, non-stinging insects that are great for pollinating your garden, and they love nesting in small holes.
You can build your own bee house out of scrap wood or purchase one online, and it’s easy to keep them supplied with fresh pollen throughout the spring and summer. So why not give mason bees a try? They’re a fun, helpful addition to any garden, and they just might help increase your yield this year.