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Buying mason bees

 
Ann Torrence
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I'm thinking I want to add some mason bees to our pollinator mix. We have a good number of summer natives, but we didn't get great pollination even with our honey bees last year and our hives did not do well over the winter.

Where are you getting them?
 
Elijah Bowman
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Last spring I built a very simple mason bee hive by wiring a bundle of 8" bamboo tubes together and hung it under the eave of the shed near my garden, by the end of the summer 75% of the tubes had been filled by native mason bees.
 
Karen Donnachaidh
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I know mason bees are great pollinators BUT they are drilling holes in our house, our barn, I even got my newspaper out of the box one morning to find one had drilled up from the hole in the bottom of the box and halfway through my paper. How do we peacefully coexist?
 
Kelly Smith
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http://crownbees.com/
by far the most knowledgeable source for mason bees that i know of. he has been on some of wheatons videos too

we order some from them as well as ordered a mason bee house. : http://crownbees.com/shop/nesting-material/large-wood-trays
we think we have a mason bee hotel full of cocoons, but i havent check yet.
we also got some tubes that we can insert into homemade mason bees houses : http://crownbees.com/shop/nesting-material/guard-tubes-and-inserts

you may also look into leafcutter bees. we have seen a good amount of them active here in our summer - there seems to be WAY more to eat for them compared to mason bees (though admittedly, we dont have a orchard -yet)
http://crownbees.com/shop/bees/leafcutter-bees-leafguardian
 
Kelly Smith
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Karen Layne wrote:How do we peacefully coexist?

build them some homes!

they are trying to help - they are asking for shelter in return for their work
 
Karen Donnachaidh
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I'm thinking that they want me to vacate so they can move in. I can just picture them sitting on the couch with their feet up, drinking sweet tea.
Here we call them wood borers or carpenter bees. They are the same as Masons, right?
 
Elijah Bowman
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Karen Layne wrote:I'm thinking that they want me to vacate so they can move in. I can just picture them sitting on the couch with their feet up, drinking sweet tea.
Here we call them wood borers or carpenter bees. They are the same as Masons, right?


Im no expert but carpenter bees (Xylocopa spp.) drill holes, while mason bees (Osmia spp.) require holes drilled by other wood boring insects for their nest sites.
 
Jessica Padgham
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I was under the impression that mason bees are really only active in the spring. Don't they lay eggs and then die in late spring?
 
Kelly Smith
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Jessica Padgham wrote:I was under the impression that mason bees are really only active in the spring. Don't they lay eggs and then die in late spring?


for the most part yes, they are only around for spring.
the bees are only alive for ~ 6 weeks and leave ~10 egga (larva?) behind that will overwinter and hatch out next spring.

i have heard they can pollinate at a rate of 1 mason bee to 200 honey bees. its partly because of how mason bees vs honey bees collect pollen

once the mason bees go away, the leaf cutter bees (also a solitary bee) come out.

you can simply put out some tubes and you may be surprised to see that mason bees (or other solitary bees) are around - they just needed a place to live.
 
Karen Donnachaidh
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From Wikipedia:

"However, when weighed against the benefits X. virginica has as pollinators, the costs of X. virginica's destructive behavior are insignificant. X. virginica offer benefits in the form of pollination for fruits, vegetables, legumes, and flower crops. Although the pollination strengths of X. virginica are secondary to that of the bumble and honey bees, the contribution is great enough to overlook destructive tendencies."

It seems I have Eastern Carpenter Bees. Good pollinators BUT that part about the cost of their destructive behavior being insignificant, they don't know what I spent in rafters.
 
Roger Fergus
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Jessica Padgham wrote:I was under the impression that mason bees are really only active in the spring. Don't they lay eggs and then die in late spring?

There are different kinds of mason bees that "hatch" at different times of the year.
So one kind of mason bee will be out from April-May while another variety comes out for June-July ect.
 
Barbara Greene
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Another good source for supplies and really great information is Dr. Magritte Dogterom's page: beediverse.com
She has been studying mason bees and their cousins for many years, I have found her site to be a wealth of information!
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/cards
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