Mason Bee Keeping




I still haven’t put my cacoons out because nothing is blooming right now. My stone fruit all got toasted and my pommes are still a 2-3 weeks away it seems. I thought about buying some potted flowers and sitting them near the house to get them started.


I can usually count on forsythia


Boy you guys go all out. I have a wood pile with whole cut logs in it and I just go out each spring and drill a bunch of holes in a new log. They find it and make their little homes. Also mid summer I have leaf cutter bees doing the same thing, last year I had a problem with a woodpecker that raided my homes and took a bunch of the larvae tho, hopefully he didnt get too deep into the holes. Thinking about putting some wire mesh over them this year to keep the birds away.


Well I went all out buying the wood layers with grooves and straps, spending more than I will admit to, just to have the bees find other digs - more to their liking! The good news is that last year they came back to check out my blossoms so less work for me.


Here’s an old mason box. Birds are tearing it up now.


How long did it last before the birds damaged it? Simple enough if you can get a couple of years life from it.


It has been there for 10 years at least. I haven’t taken care of it.




This thread is interesting, I just got mason bees and a house from the grandkids for my Birthday. Not expecting to get mason bees, I have been reading up on them and they are certainly and interesting insect. I am going to use the cardboard tubes and liners, it gets too cold here in the winter to leave them out.
It is my understanding that you wash the cocoons in a bleach solution before you put them out. I have included the link to the info page, it is certainly thorough and tells you how to load the tubes with the unhatched cocoons if you want to release them that way. Mason Bee Central


They started hatching in the fridge again this year - so much for waiting til the rain passed to put them out

Interestingly - the ones I hadn’t taken out of the tubes weren’t coming out, only the loose cocoons


Yes I cut up a bit of the netting I use on cherry trees and cover the front of the mason bee house. BIrds hate it, but the bees don’t mind. It’s easy for the bees to get through. I even find squirrels pulling out my reed tubes to eat the larvae.
john S


Another indictment on squirrels.


I hope my bees will make it to fruit blossom time. I am not counting on it as the apples do not bloom till May.

I have one objective this year and that is to get my own cocoons, so letting the bees out when the early dandelions, wild chokecherries and Saskatoon bushes bloom will probably be my best chance that the bees are still alive in the fridge.

Then I can harvest and store my own and get the timing right. From what I have read Mason Bees can be in storage 200 days until loss of bees starts to happen. I have no idea when these bought cocoons were collected, or at what temps. they were stored. They apparently will stay dormant longer if the temps are nearer freezing or right at 32F.


They seem to hatch on their own schedule, not mine


I put mine out yesterday. Not many fruit blooms out now but I have a couple of dogwoods and the neighbor have bradfords. Should keep them busy until pears and apples pop.


When the paper mentioned dandelions I knew I would be in the clear, I have plenty of those and they do bloom early.:slight_smile:


So there they are in their bee house, shivering and huddling in the cold


Ok this thread got me motivated…


So do mason bees NEED to be kept inside during the winter? I dont want to bother collecting/cleaning embryos or whatever. If they die above ground due to cold, would it be better to bury them under straw/hay to help insulate during the cold months?