Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Mason Bee House Part 1

Today I stopped by my local wild bird supple store, J.J. Cardinal's Wild Bird and Nature Store, to buy a replacement tube for my 36 inch finch feeder and walked out with a mason bee house that I assembled myself.
The class was full but there was a last minute cancellation so I was finally in the right place at the right time.
The house was all pre cut and pre drilled.  Assembly was pretty straight forward.  The tubes and liners were supplied along with enough liners for next year.  Also included were two strips of bee attractant, a bag of mud, and a small box of mason bee cocoons to populate my new mason bee house.  These cocoons are currently chill laxing in my fridge.
Cocoon Photo courtesy of

Why mason bees?

They are excellent pollinators, they are indigenous to our area, they are easy to raise, they are docile like honeybees, and why not?

Mason bees are strictly pollinators and do not produce honey.  But don't let this deter you from installing a mason bee house.  Honeybees are important but their population numbers are currently down and if you have fruit trees like I do, but have very little fruit production, you may need help in the area of pollination.  Last year I had plenty of blooms, no late frost, but very few fruit.  So pollination was the problem.

The genus species name of the blue orchard mason bee is  Osmia lignaria.  Mason bees lays their eggs in holes or tubes and then seal them with mud....hence the mason part of their common name.

Part 2 will cover hanging the bee house and placing of the cocoons.  Stay tuned.

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