"Of the 4,000 bee species native to North America, mason bees are among the easiest to raise, while also being gentle and amazing pollinators.
Mason bees nest in pre-made holes and hole-nesting bees represent about 25% of the world’s bee species. We can increase mason bee populations by raising them in our backyards and gardens, which is a great way to supplement the stressed honeybee, sustain our future food supply, and provide nesting sites for other native bees, too.
The blue orchard mason bee (Osmia lignaria) is a very productive pollinator for spring flowering fruit and nut trees and spring berry plants. A female mason bee carries pollen mainly on the underside of her hairy abdomen and scrapes the pollen off within her nesting hole. She carries the pollen dry on her belly and it falls off easily as she moves among flowers.
Mason bees are generalists that love to visit a variety of flowers.
Dry, loose pollen carried on the large surface of the mason bee’s belly results in significantly more pollinated flowers. Honeybees, on the other hand, wet the pollen and stick it to their hind legs to transport to the hive.
Mason bees are an awesome cross-pollinator because they busily flit back and forth between branches and trees, instead of focusing on stripping pollen and nectar from one location." (Credit: The Honey Bee Conservancy)
I am excited to be offering a new line of Mason Bee Homes that will also accommodate a host of other types of solitary bees including Leaf Cutter Bees. Please feel free to call me at (608) 354-8228 or email at email@example.com if you have any questions.
These are mainly "entry level-beginner style" homes-I am working on some new designs that include pull out tubes if you wish to harvest the cocoons and get more involved with bee keeping. Its relatively easy and a lot of FUN !
Leaf Cutter Bees preparing nest for cocoons
-Face house South/South West get morning sun on a flat surface
-Plant Native Flowers and Flowering Trees to provide food source
-They require clay to build their cocoons-so its a good idea to dig up some earth below the box
-Place at approx eye level if possible
-hardware cloth (wire like mesh) can be put on the front of it to protect them from predators
-Locate in a area protected from high winds
-Exterior of home can be painted with Exterior Latex paint if you wish-just don't get any paint near the holes.