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Mason bees

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Mason bees

Post  sully on 2/23/2011, 12:18 pm

I am putting up nest boxes for mason bees. I could use some help.
How many will I need for a 2 acre garden all SFG and fruit trees/shrubs.
And, how difficult are they to care for.

Is this one of those build it and they will come things or do I need to buy them.
I have found two sources, but would like more options.

Thanks in advance.

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Re: Mason bees

Post  Megan on 2/26/2011, 5:23 pm

Hi Sully, unfortunately I have no idea. I try to plant many pollinator-attractors near my SFG beds, and last year I saw all kinds of bees large and small, but I don't know them well enough to tell them apart. Hopefully someone else can help you with your question.

Bump! Smile

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Re: Mason bees

Post  miinva on 2/26/2011, 7:24 pm

We're putting up a can of tubes for mason bees as well. My 9-year-old is so excited! Smile This is our first time doing so, so I can't offer much advice, but I don't figure it can hurt to help the pollinators along with some housing Very Happy

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Re: Mason bees

Post  camprn on 2/26/2011, 9:00 pm

There are numerous web sites relating to providing shelter and other needs of mason bees.
There is some good info here ~~~>Mason Bee Systems good & bad

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Re: Mason bees

Post  miinva on 2/27/2011, 12:52 pm

Thank you so much for this thread! I watched the youtube videos from Hutchings Bee Service and my 9-year-old son heard them talking and came over and wanted to watch all of them. He's so excited about helping the bees Smile I wish I had some woodworking skill so that I could build some peek-a-boo bee condos like they have. I'm going to look around and see if I can find anyone who can make me a couple of them locally, since Gord Hutchings says on the website that he doesn't like to mail them unless absolutely necessary.

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Re: Mason Bees

Post  jvisser on 3/20/2011, 3:08 pm

I'm on this bandwagon too. The initial research I did last fall didn't really tell me how many pollinators to try to attract, so if you get some good info please share.

I was just about to go outside and hang the teardrop shaped tube house I got as a Christmas gift. Mine was purchased online rather than homemade...I think I would have just created a mess trying to make my own.

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Re: Mason bees

Post  Furbalsmom on 3/20/2011, 3:56 pm

jvisser


I am sorry I can't contribute to the discussion of Mason Bees, but did want to let you know we are glad you are here.

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Re: Mason bees

Post  miinva on 3/20/2011, 4:19 pm

The bee house from Hutchings Bees arrived and it's awesome! A friend has it right now trying to sketch out a pattern to make a couple more, but I need to get it back. Mason bees 'wake up' as early as February and yesterday I saw a couple of bees around the flowers at Lowe's, so I think it's time. Gord Hutchings doesn't recommend buying bees from different areas, but if you found someone local with some mason bees to share that might be an option. When I was talking to him about getting a bee condo he told me that it's not necessary to purchase bees so I'm not doing so.

Our bee condo happened to arrive on my son's birthday and I snapped a picture of him holding it:

[img][/img]

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Re: Mason bees

Post  CindiLou on 3/20/2011, 11:05 pm

I want to have hubby make several this year for the bees. I did check that my EpiPen was up to date lol...

This is the one I am having him make. We already have wood that will works still from the 2007 ice storm!

http://www.instructables.com/id/Happy-Home-for-our-friends-the-Mason-Bees/

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Re: Mason bees

Post  miinva on 3/21/2011, 10:19 am

I forgot to thank camprn for posting the gardenweb link, that's where I read about the Hutchings Bee Service system.

CindiLou, if you read through that Gardenweb thread (which is really long but worth the read) you'll find discussion of the difficulty of cleaning drilled hole bee houses and the fact that you can accidentally kill leaf cutter bees if you just clean out the holes after the mason bees emerge. You can improve things by lining the holes with paper of some kind, according to that thread, so that bee parasites don't thrive.

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Re: Mason bees

Post  CindiLou on 3/21/2011, 12:09 pm

miinva, I remember something about that in the comments. I will reread. I sure don't want to kill anything!

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Mason Bee Houses any good?

Post  llama momma on 4/11/2013, 12:13 pm

According to Mother Earth News, mason bees are great pollinators and do not sting. Has anyone bought mason bee houses to keep around the garden? Any success stories out there?

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Re: Mason bees

Post  H_TX_2 on 4/11/2013, 12:44 pm

After seeing so many squash and zucchini die from not being pollinated last year I have really been considering making a mason bee house. I would also really like to know if anyone has used them near their garden.

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Re: Mason bees

Post  camprn on 4/11/2013, 12:51 pm


____________________________

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There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t1306-other-gardening-books

Outlander is outstanding!


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Re: Mason bees

Post  Pollinator on 4/11/2013, 2:38 pm

Mason bees are great spring pollinators for your early blooming fruits, like apples, peaches, blackberries, etc. But they go dormant in summer, so they are of no value for squashes and cukes.

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Re: Mason bees

Post  Pollinator on 4/11/2013, 2:45 pm

You need not worry about an epi-pen for mason bees. They do not sting.

Mason bees are excellent pollinators for spring fruit. But they go dormant in the summer, so they are no good for your squash and cukes.

Using a nest box with holes drilled in wood is OK for one year's use. But parasites build up, so they should not be used a second year.

You can purchase straws, or make your own from parchment paper. When the nesting season is over, you need to open each straw and take out the cocoons so you can clean them and kill the pollen mites. There are instructions here: http://www.masonbeecentral.com/resources-mason-bees-central-supplies-cocoons

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Re: Mason bees

Post  camprn on 4/11/2013, 3:22 pm

@CindiLou wrote:I want to have hubby make several this year for the bees. I did check that my EpiPen was up to date lol...

This is the one I am having him make. We already have wood that will works still from the 2007 ice storm!

http://www.instructables.com/id/Happy-Home-for-our-friends-the-Mason-Bees/
Why are you checking an epi-pen. Do you have life threatening allergies?

____________________________

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There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t1306-other-gardening-books

Outlander is outstanding!


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Re: Mason bees

Post  CindiLou on 4/11/2013, 8:21 pm

No, I have site reactions. But of course the DOCTOR thinks I should carry a pen. I have never had to use it in the 10 yrs I have carried it! I get stung, I swell up some (at the site), turn red, itch like crazy (plantain tea takes care of that!) Then in a couple of days the area is fine.

I have never had a shock reaction. I think the doctor just wants to scare me nutz!

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Re: Mason bees

Post  camprn on 4/11/2013, 8:33 pm

@CindiLou wrote:No, I have site reactions. But of course the DOCTOR thinks I should carry a pen. I have never had to use it in the 10 yrs I have carried it! I get stung, I swell up some (at the site), turn red, itch like crazy (plantain tea takes care of that!) Then in a couple of days the area is fine.

I have never had a shock reaction. I think the doctor just wants to scare me nutz!
That sounds like a typical, normal venom reaction, which is different from an allergic reaction.

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There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t1306-other-gardening-books

Outlander is outstanding!


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Re: Mason bees

Post  CindiLou on 4/11/2013, 9:20 pm

Yup, I just keep the pen up-to-date for just-in-case and to keep family happier.

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Re: Mason bees

Post  nosmok on 12/28/2014, 1:37 pm



One of my local gardening friends turned me on to mason bees.  After a lot of research I found Crown Bees and their excellent site with information on pollinating bees.  My order is currently stored in my fridge, dormant and waiting for spring.  In the meantime, I've been working on my nesting trays.  These were pretty easy to make with a drill press and a power drill to deepen the holes.  I held the blocks together with threaded rod and nuts, so I can harvest the larvae at the end of the cycle to store again for another year.  Next step is the shelter to house the trays.

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Re: Mason bees

Post  AtlantaMarie on 12/28/2014, 7:04 pm

Very nice, Nosmok! 

Please keep us informed on how they do...

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Re: Mason bees

Post  Ha-v-v on 12/31/2014, 10:07 am

I love our Mason/Carpenter bees, I put pine 2x2s that connect my cedar boards together, I make them tall enough at times for those lovely bees Smile I will be putting more pine in for them. We have an abundance here in the south, you build something with fresh pine and they will be there in a hot second. You build it they will come Smile
I cannot wait to hear about how they fare after you harvest the larvae Smile

Denise/Ha-v-v

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Re: Mason bees

Post  camprn on 12/31/2014, 10:12 am

Can't you just leave the larvae cocoons in the nest holes? What are the advantages of taking them out of the nest?
http://beediverse.com/blog/

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Re: Mason bees

Post  nosmok on 12/31/2014, 2:30 pm

From what I've read it seems the issue may be extreme cold or nest infiltration.  The Crown Bees site has lots of good info

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Re: Mason bees

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