Beekeeping forum: Mason Bees vs. Leafcutter Bees

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Name: Annie Schreck
Fort Jones, CA (Zone 7b)
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schrecka
Jun 4, 2018 10:06 AM CST
Hi there, Bee Friends!
I've been doing a bit of research on native bees, hoping to get them going in 2019. I'm trying to decide between mason and leafcutter bees, and I would love to hear from someone with experience keeping either. I like that mason bees are active in the spring rather than summer, but it looks like leafcutters cost one fifth the price of mason bees. Any one know other pro and cons I should consider?

I'm also curious as to how I should start preparing my garden for them. My plan is to go the the native plant nursery in the fall and plant up some natives with staggered blooms through the spring or summer. And prepare a mud pit if I go for the mason bees.

Any insight helps--thanks a bunch!

Annie
Name: Margaret
Delta KY
I'm A Charley's Girl For Sure
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Beekeeper
Seed Starter Permaculture Region: Kentucky Garden Ideas: Master Level Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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Mindy03
Jun 4, 2018 4:18 PM CST

Moderator

Hi Annie Welcome to the beekeeping forum

I don't know anything about mason or leaf cutter bees so I will leave that for someone else to answer.


I also don't know about plants for either one either but I can suggest that you search for plants for mason bees or plants for leaf cutter bees and see what comes up. That is what I did when I first started researching plants for honey bees.
Name: Heath
sevierville TN (Zone 7a)
Composter Beekeeper Houseplants Region: Tennessee Bee Lover Frugal Gardener
Vermiculture Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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plantcollector
Jun 4, 2018 5:44 PM CST
I don't know anything about them either but i think you should take @Mindy03 advice. Find out what they eat and how they live. I wouldn't buy any because they will probably come from a different climate. You want bees from your area. Even 20 miles is to far do to micro climates. So find out what they eat and how they live and give your local bees a awesome home. Keep us posted.
Name: Annie Schreck
Fort Jones, CA (Zone 7b)
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schrecka
Jun 5, 2018 12:10 PM CST
Thank you both! I was planning on buying through the CrownBees program where you can get larva that come from your own region. But a 20 mile radius is pretty darn specific. Okay, I'll focus on planting up a bountiful habitat.

Thanks!
Name: Heath
sevierville TN (Zone 7a)
Composter Beekeeper Houseplants Region: Tennessee Bee Lover Frugal Gardener
Vermiculture Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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plantcollector
Jun 5, 2018 4:28 PM CST
You know the old saying. If you build it they will come.
Name: Frank Mosher
Nova Scotia, Canada (Zone 6a)
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds Roses Clematis Lilies Peonies
Region: Canadian Photo Contest Winner: 2017 Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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fwmosher
Jun 5, 2018 5:39 PM CST
Annie: I am having a problem with the choice options? Mason bees are the sweethearts of the gardening world because they are small, unobtrusive, and as you said, early Spring bees before the "honey" bees surface from overwintering under the soil. Leafcutter bees are by definition, leafcutters, and can really do a job on a lot of ornamental plants, including roses. What do you want either for? Cheers!
Name: Annie Schreck
Fort Jones, CA (Zone 7b)
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schrecka
Jun 6, 2018 7:57 AM CST
Valid point, Frank. I'm in it for the native insect pollination and the joy of stewarding bees.

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