Mason Bee Keeping


I saw a bee scouting out an apple tree - quite in vain. Buds at silver tip and not moving on


Here’s one on my king David apple tree


Prize photo!


My bees are finally all hatched and starting to work, although the losses were heavy. More hornfaced bees seem to have survived than the masons. Today, I noticed a male hornface mating/attempting to mate with a female mason. I haven’t seen many surviving male masons.

Makes me wonder if they can crossbreed.

Fruit trees should bloom this week, but they already seem to be getting pollen somewhere, as usual


I looked today and it appears about 25% of mine have hatched but I haven’t seen any flying around. I assume these were the males. Would be a great time for them to be cruising the orchard becuase pears and cherries are in full bloom and apples are showing pink. Euro plums are also blooming along with the U of S bush cherries.


My apricot trees are the only flowering trees in the neighborhood. They attracted enormous amount of native mason bees. Last year when they flowered early in march there was no pollinators at all. I think late spring is not really a bad thing. :blush:


This is the first year my cherries have bloomed when bees have been out and it was super exciting to recognize local little Mason bees.

Next year I want to plan for them and provide a house right next to the trees. Does anyone know what the best time for a new house is? Should I just put in out the minute that blooming starts?


A week or two before, so they have the location marked. Make sure there’s a source of mud nearby


Agree. Extremely climate-dependent because here in Southern BC (Canada), mason bees will just start to get a bit more active now (late April) this year because we’ve had such a cool, wet spring. In the past, I’ve added a few cocoons into my greenhouse earlier, and they’ll be busy in there, but mid-April is usually when most flowering plants and fruit trees blossom around here.


I was astonished this year, after such a cold start, to find how many of my bees had survived so long until plants came into bloom, when they became extremely active

#211 cool site by an entomologist that goes into lots of detail about building homes and taking care of bees keeping bees (really like his peekaboo housing idea so you can pull out and look through the clear top into cells!).


all my masons hatched out last week. put them out as my honey berry and willows bloomed. no new nests getting built yet. maybe they’re waiting until more pollen is available. leaf cutters should start hatching at the end of the month.


I’ve read through this thread and had some questions about the reults folks were getting since starting. Wondering what field mods were needed, or any updates folks have.

So Eric, how was year 2. Did they stick around? Show up on time for any bloom? Show up at all?

Where is ‘in’? I have seen that you can place them in a fine mesh bag to protect them from the small parasitic wasps and then keep them outside to finish cocooning.

I guess you could do for them what some folks do for fruit trees and that is to put a incandescent light bulb or other heating element under their home? Or, I wonder if, like saving your own veggie seeds, they adapt to the local conditions and that improves their survival.

Do you find that the leaf cutter bees do much damage to the foliage in your yard? I saw a video where a man’s lilac bush was sorely ‘cut’ up by these bees. I’m wondering if there is an alternative to these for the warm weather after the masons are done.

How did this work out? Last year? This year?

How did this work out?

Lois, do you think it was the birds? Do you mean the cocoons or the bees as they are flying near their nest?

I’m wondering if you saw any birds picking them off. I have a LOT of birds here and may need to take extraordinary measures to protect them based on others observations.
Thanks all for your input.


i put out 40 cocoons this spring. they all hatched out but i didn’t get any to come back and nest in my mason bee house. they hatched very early . only pollen source available was my weeping willow so i don’t know if they survived. ill put out more next spring.


Anne - I take them inside in June after they have cocooned - I refrigerate them over the winter after I remove the cocoons from the tubes


Where do you keep them between June and winter?


In the basement


It has been working well. Last year I had 2 holes plugged, this year seven plugged up. I also made a couple of new ones out of old logs and had 5 holes plugged up in those. The orchard masons quit a couple of months ago and all was quiet until this week when I noticed several HUGE bees working my new drilled log. They appear to be laying eggs and plugging up holes just like the orchard masons but these bees are close to 1 inch long. I think they are a non native mason bee called the giant resin bee. They are chewing up the paper inserts but seem to be leaving the orchard masons alone so far. Heres a photo i snapped.


never heard of the giant resin bee. where are they from? i use sections of dead japanese knotweed for mason nesting. in mid summer i collect the filled ones and keep them in the garage till’ fall, then i split the canes and collect the cocoons. i put them in the fridge in tupperware until the following spring.


Year 2 was no better than year one. They hatched and flew off, never to be seen again. Mason bees are a waste of time in my neck of the woods.