Mason Bee Keeping


yes or the years prior.


i used japanese knotweed canes for mine. i put fresh ones out each spring. i have mason and leaf cutter cocoons i put out so i vary the sizes to accommodate both.


Yes, and for this reason they recommend adding some tubes around the blocks. They also recommend a pheromone spray as an attractant. I did not get the tubes, just the spray. The block is a set of trays that have been routered such that when joined, they form tubes. To me, these seemed the easiest to harvest from, as well as to clean and reuse for the following years.


I got some of those - the bees seemed to prefer the tubes


Thats the route I went Anne. But in hindsight I wish I hadn’t. I wish I had went with the tubes. The trays were rather expensive and in two years of trying to keep mason bees mine have been an overall failure. I can’t say for certain that it’s the laminates that have caused the problem but I can say they they have not worked for me.


i made some also but the bees prefer tubes.


Thanks. We all stand on the shoulders of those who taught us and I so appreciate all that you guys have offered here.

As I began this endeavor, I came across a person that actually began his studies 25 years ago and did it formally at a university. He went on to build colonies for commercial orchards continuing to experiment. Fortunately, he made a video of his findings and recommendations just Jan of this year. He recommends using wood blocks and has a lot of interesting pointers as to why and what to avoid.


good info .i had made similar blocks to what he had but the bees preferred my japanese knotweed canes i put out in another house next to the one with the trays. maybe if i didn’t have the tubes they would have gone into the trays instead?


Mine didn’t show interest in the trays until they had filled up the tubes


hmm… i didn’t get 1 cocoon out of my trays and most of the right sized tubes were full.


It seems that the blocks would make it more difficult for the mono to access the cocoons - not that they couldn’t. And although the bees appear to prefer tubes, that it may be a more vulnerable habitat for their young. Mr. Hutchinson never said that…but he ops for blocks, maybe just for ease in harvesting. Either way, I think using the fine mesh, and maybe even the sticky traps described above…at the right time could result in more viable bees at the end of the season.


This would be true IFF you use new blocks every season.

I know of no way to remove the cocoons from the blocks for overwintering, and parasitized cocoons are the most likely source of wasps. They don’t have to get in, they’re already there, waiting


The blocks I’m referring to come apart for harvesting and cleaning, if I understand your comment correctly.


Ah - I’ve been calling those “trays”


Funny, all my bee cocoons were in the plasitc blocks, none of the tubes had any. The same with the house at my son’s, every hole was plugged and filled in the block.

ETA I love the idea of using hollow reeds


I really like how everyone is kind of pitching in with different ideas, and everyone can try to see what works best for them. I use teasel for my tubes as it is invasive and free in my area and many of the tubes have a natural blocked end and are about 5/16" diameter naturally. I recently decided that I am going to put a rubber band around them as the squirrels and birds are removing one tube at a time to eat the cocoons. I even think I might drill a tiny hole through each side of the bee house and run a string through it so they can’t remove the mass of banded tubes. All of the experiments that people have shown me have really helped over the years!
John S


the japanese knotweed here is similar and free. i tie it up in bunches. then stuff in pieces of rag around them to hold them in place and the front is covered w/ hardware cloth to keep the woodpeckers out.


In the process of making mason bee houses out of blocks with acrylic tops but also want to use tubes.

Question is, are all tubes made the same or are there some that I should stay clear of, also when using tubes is it a good idea to paper line them?


There are differences, albeit small ones

I like the tubes from Crown Bees, tho they aren’t as simple to zip open as they suggest

Their paper liners come out of the tubes easily


I picked up some of the tubes from Crown Bees, plus liners and ordered 40 bees from Mountain West Mason Bees. The bees just came in the mail. Should I just keep them in the fridge until spring? What is the best container to keep them in?