The Q&A Archives: Mason Bees

Question: How do I know if I have mason bees in my area? How do I attract them and keep them around?

Answer: I'm not sure what signs to look for to see if you have mason bees in your area. You can, however, take steps to encourage them to make your yard their home!<br><br>Orchard Mason Bees are solitary bees that build nests, usually in wooden cavities suchas hollow plant stems. Various species of mason bees are found all over the country. Mason bees fly in cool weather and are a great help to gardeners, especially during cool, wet springs when honeybees aren't actively pollinating. You can help attract them to your garden by providing homemade nests for them. Just take an 8 or 10 inch piece of wood (untreated!) and drill rows of holes for the females to lay their eggs in. Make the holes about 5/16 of an inch in diameter and about 6 inches deep. As long as you have flowers blooming in the early spring, Mason Bees will visit your garden. If you've hung a nest near the trees, in a protected area that gets morning sun, the females will likely lay their eggs in the cells. There is an interesting book called "Orchard Masons", by Brian L. Griffin, that might interest you.

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