Mason Bee Keeping


yes. after they’re full i put the full ones in my garage then split them and keep the cocoons in fridge in late fall. if you don’t take them out of the mason house ,the woodpeckers will eat them. I’ve seen it.


Have to keep watch on the bees in the refrigerator this time of year, lest they start to hatch in there. They always hatch way too soon, before there is any chance of flowering, but this year the blooms are going to be way late.

If it gets up into the 40s next week, I’ll put them out.

They Say you can give them sugar water, but I’ve never seen them use it.


I’m planning to put half of mine out today. The plums are blooming. From what I’ve read the females last for 6 weeks - but that doesn’t get us until May.
@ltilton did yours go out yet? Y’all are much colder so when I saw your post I was emboldened to give it a go.


I’m thinking Tuesday, that’s looking more like spring

I wouldn’t do it so soon, except that I’ve recorded the dates they start hatching in the fridge, and some years it’s been as early as 3/10. If they’re gonna hatch, they’d better do it outside.


There was a bee guy,teaching at the Raintree classes yesterday and I asked him,if anything could be done with Mason bees,to bring them out of dormancy to help pollinate the early blooming Japanese Plums.
He said to try warming them up gently by placing some in an indoor room and when the first ones wake up,then put the others of that group


I haven’t waded into the bee world yet, but there’s a lot of talk about protecting bees from wasps. Might the wasps be good pollinators too? I don’t know much about bees or wasps, but I thought that parasitic wasps were great garden/orchard buddies because they pollinate blooms and kill pests. Assuming they don’t eradicate the bees and can coexist, wouldn’t we want to have plenty of both?


Coexist is probably a key


An interesting comment was made by the guy at the Raintree class.He said two female Mason bees can pollinate a whole


There are a ton of different kind of wasps, some of which are pollinators. Others are parasitic, killing both pest insects, and beneficial insects too.

In most cases, if you have a high level of diversity of plants, you will have a balanced ecosystem, where beneficials will dominate.


Are parasitic and pollinating exclusive? I thought the larva/eggs kill and the adults can pollinate?


As far as Mason bees are concerned the adult Mono wasp lays eggs in the nests the Mason bees make. Not all wasps do this. Not sure the Mono wasp pollinates.


Pretty sure it doesn’t. There’s a great variety in wasps, but generally they’'re not much as pollinators. Their larvae are carnivorous, and feeding them is the first priority


It’s in the high 60’s today and masons are flying all over the yard. I bought a mason bee box full of bamboo tubes from Costco last year, and the local bees colonized it. Now I have my own population. Most are the introduced hornface bees. I bought some blue orchard bee cocoons this year to diversify the population.

Here are some scouting out their new house. They fly back and forth so fast it’s hard to get a decent picture.


What do you do with the box during winter months?


This box is new to me this year, but I think I’m supposed to open it and extract to cocoons. Then they get stored in the fridge until spring time, when they are placed back outside. The one from last year was bamboo tubes which cocoons cannot be extracted from. I left it outside all winter. The bees didn’t seem to mind. They at least didn’t die.


when would it be safe to put masons outside in mich. we are expecting some lows in the 30s. its seems nice now but its only beginning of april. Once they hatch what is the liwest temps they can handle. apple blooms are starting to swell and i want to have bees at the ready, probably 2 to 3 weeks and some will b blooming.


They can handle pretty cold weather, 30s shouldn’t bother them. They just hole up and wait til it hits 50


as long as there are blossoms to feed on , put them out.


Even when you can’t see any blooms, the bees survive


my black willow surrounding my property are the 1st to bloom. thats my cue to set them out.