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Mason bees to share/sell?

 
Posts: 23
Location: Willamette Valley, Oregon
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I live in town (Albany, OR) and there are mason bees around (my across the street neighbor has a lot every spring). I have a few fruit trees but they almost never get adequately pollinated. My problem is that the honey bees are too little too late. Also coming late are bumble bees. This year I am making several different mason bee houses to put around, including a couple that can be opened to harvest and save the cocoons. I also constructed three bumblebee houses and they are already out there. My fear is that mason bees stay close to home and since I have never had much help from them in the past, I might still not get any takers for my beautiful mason bee lodges. I am going to ask my neighbor if I could put a couple houses over there so I can bring them over here for 2020 but that does not help me for next spring.

So, is there anyone out there in my neck of the woods that has some mason bees that you wouldn't mind sharing? It could be as simple as giving me a couple of your filled bamboo tubes to gift wrapping some mason bee cocoons. I know there are mason bees for sale but so far the prices look very spendy. Has anyone this in the past? How has it worked out?
 
garden master
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Hey Jon,

It sounds like your problem might be not having a good continual food source for them.

If you plant some other food sources for them or allow some natural sources to grow, it could help keep them at your property. If you get them from somewhere else and put them on your property, but don't have a good year round food source for them, they probably will not stay long that way either.

I didn't have a lot of mason bees at my property either when I first moved in. There was just a lot of grass growing. Now I have a very diverse plant habitat of natural plants, wildflowers, and fruit and garden plants that bloom at different times during the year, and I constantly see them on whatever is blooming in my yard.

Doing this, you might convince them all to forget about your neighbor's yard and come on over to the feast at your house!
 
gardener
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Now I have a very diverse plant habitat of natural plants, wildflowers, and fruit and garden plants that bloom at different times during the year, and I constantly see them on whatever is blooming in my yard.

Doing this, you might convince them all to forget about your neighbor's yard and come on over to the feast at your house!  



I like the way Steve thinks! I know more about honeybees than masons but the "build it & they will come" attitude makes good sense. All bees (that I'm aware of) need a year round food supply.
 
Jon Sousa
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I knew after I posted this that I would be posting a response talking about what I have done in this regard.  I've been working on flowers. The neighbor is giving me some. I planted borage last year and it is doing great and flowering all over the place. One interesting thing about masons is that they only live for 6 or so weeks so it's not entirely true that I have to have flowers all year long... but I'm working on it. The bumblebees will need them.
 
Mike Barkley
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My general understanding of bees & most other animals is that they make babies. Which will need food. See where this is going?

Borage is a great choice for bees. Edible for humans too. Welcome to permies.
 
pollinator
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I too am looking for Mason bees and/or Leafcutter bees eventually, and know the requirements needed to provide a successful habitat.

Let's get this thread back on track - does anyone have bees they are willing to share/sell, or an affordable source for such?
 
Posts: 102
Location: Zone 7a, 42", Fairfax VA Piedmont (clay, acidic, shady)
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I'm also in the market for native pollinators.  I have a small bee hotel mounted on a tree, but so far haven't seen any there.  Also tried drilling a lot of holes into a large stump.  Prefer a solution that's maintenance free.
 
Jon Sousa
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Mike Barkley wrote:
I like the way Steve thinks! I know more about honeybees than masons but the "build it & they will come" attitude makes good sense. All bees (that I'm aware of) need a year round food supply.



Well, here we are at the end of April, I have flowers all over the place and almost no bees. I think I saw maybe two mason bees 3 weeks ago but none since then. Unfortunately, I have been out of town and have not been able to do much about finding a local source. I am building it, and I do believe that they will eventually come, but I would sure like to jump start the process.

I have three bumble-bee houses around the yard and one mason bee hotel set up in a fruit tree. So far no visible occupants but I am very hopeful.
 
Mike Barkley
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Some people use a drop of lemongrass oil to attract honeybees. Not sure if it works for mason bees but it might be worth a try.
 
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