24 Mar

Mason Bees Breakout

…break out of their cocoons, that is. While they’re easy bees to “keep” they’re tricky to place. They need to be near a source of mud (the more sticky clay, the better) to furnish their tubes/nest and near a Spring food supply (pollen). Fortunately they have a range of 300-400 feet, so it was more a matter of what do I want them to see first and how do I keep them happy.

So I placed them near the food (two bloomin’ plum trees) about 4 feet up on a shared fenceline and turned over some earth below the nest. There’s a creek about 25 feet away for extra mud if they need it. There’s rosemary blooming about 20 feet in the other direction and soon early blueberries in bloom, too.

I watched two hatch yesterday and take off like Harrier jets straight for the plum trees. Four others were already out and about. That leaves four more to hatch. I expect they’ll be out and about in the next few days.

Photos are still in the camera.

20 Mar

Mason Bee Ranching

This was my early birthday present from Debby and the kids:


–a Mason Bee kit, with house, paper tubes, and bees–in larval stage, currently in the fridge until I tack the hive onto our backyard fence this weekend. Our son Adam is working at a local beekeeping supply store, Bee Thinking, and helped Debby with the purchase. I’ve been interested in raising honey bees but we have bee allergies at home, so this was the family compromise.


The Mason Bees won’t produce honey, but they’re industrious little pollen spreaders. They’re half the size of honey bees, the workers sting only if crushed, and produce such a small amount of venom that the risk of anaphylactic shock is very low.