Mason Bees…Ready to Go!
April 5, 2013 by solarbeez
Mason Bee Cocoons
Last year my wife opened the refrigerator to discover the Mason bees were starting to hatch…this year we were determined to hang the nests before that happened. We ordered the cocoons from Knox Cellars in Western Washington. They provided this little ‘launch box.’
Ready to place cocoons into box
I saw some great plans on Dave’s Bees on how to build the nests so I got started yesterday.
Saw off 1/2″ (1 cm) off 2x6x8″
Drill 3/8″ (9.5 mm) holes more or less in a straight line about 3/4″ apart
I hope the bees don’t have a measuring tape…someone can’t drill straight!
I didn’t want to buy a longer bit, so I started with the top one and ended with the blade bit. Don’t start with the blade type…it’ll take forever to drill.
Assembly on kitchen table. My wife is knitting a
bee hive hat…how appropriate.
The rolled up parchment paper liners are sticking out. They will be bent flat when the 1/2″ piece of sawed-off wood is fastened back on to seal it off. See Dave’s Bees excellent video.
March 23…Mason Bee Nests in place with launch box taped securely
Grass trimmed under nests to make bees more visible if they fall below. The drones (males) will emerge first and wait for the females. Sometimes the females will emerge and fall to the ground.
After about a week of waiting we start to see some activity…
One shy bee showing in 2nd row 2nd from left
March 30…Mason bee entering straw tube in wood block
Keeping mason bees is one of the easiest method of beekeeping. Some interesting facts…200 mason bees will outpollinate 2000 honey bees. Mason bees rarely sting.
A female Orchard Mason Bee visits more than 1,600 blossoms per day for about 45 days! Will fly in temperatures as low as 50 F. (10 C), and is not bothered by rain.
In orchards with non-Apis bees, the foraging behaviour of honey bees changed and the pollination effectiveness of a single honey bee visit was greater than in orchards where non-Apis bees were absent
Mason Mud tray. Since the Masons use mud to close up their tubes, it’s recommended that you provide a nearby source of mud.
Six tubes filled already.
Mason bee update…looking for mites.
Mason bee launch, 2014