Get set up for mason bees or other solitary bees now.
This is the season to get all straightened out for the spring season. If you have to pull tubes or straws now is a good time to do it. If you need to order reeds or starter kits there is no time to waste as the season will be here before you know it. This is also a great time to replace the tubes in your nest blocks.
If you have ever considered hosting Mason Bees, Hornfaced Bees, Alfalfa Leafcutter Bees, or any other Solitary Bees then check out our page on mason bees.
We always use this time in mid winter to swap out the tubes full of cocoons with fresh parchment paper and store the bees in a box that will be used in the spring as a release box. View care instructions here. Lots of folks like to open the tubes, then inspect, and clean the cocoons. I do not do that; I like to leave them undisturbed in the parchment paper tubes until they emerge. If you are inspecting and cleaning then that should be done in late summer or early fall.
We have really enjoyed keeping the mason bees; they are so easy. I can’t think of a better project to do with your children (or children with your parents) than raising solitary bees. One becomes so much more connected with the earth when one follows the actions of the bee. You quickly learn to recognize the bees out and about. You can watch what direction they go. You can see the pollen under their belly. And unlike honeybees you can observe the mating. You get to watch predatory wasps agitating your bees or in time you will be able to differentiate between the mason and the cuckoo bee that is trying to lay eggs in the mason bee nest. I can’t imagine that when the fascination of what they are doing sets in, that one would not develop a better understanding of the beauty of nature.
As always, I’m here to help you all I can; so contact me if you have any questions and thank you for supporting Daves’ Bees.
The Mason bees are done for this year at Dave’s Bees. We decided to put a screen over the front of the blocks to keep the woodpeckers and wasps from opening the holes. We used aluminum window screen with push pins to hold it in place. These blocks could stay right where they are until late winter before the tubes are changed out.
Large and small Mason bee blocks screened to keep out intruders.
The screen is just slipped in between the blocks and wrapped around the small block then pinned with the push pins. With the large block the screen is simply folded on gift wrap style and held with the push pins.
We have action in the Mason bee nest blocks. So we are in zone 6 Ohio; if you are north of us you better get your Mason bee nest blocks out. It is still a little early here but the first plums and cherries are out. The mason bees are finding forage on other things as well. The bees will charge up here in the next week so don’t wait too long to take action. The season for us will go through mid June at least so you do have some time to provide for your mason bees. The honeybees are really rolling too! They have started on the dandelions, toothwort, and henbit. For wild trees we’ve seen a couple of choke cherries starting to bloom. They were able to really pack in the pollen so today it was nectar all the way.