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Mason Bee

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New Bee

Joined: 01 Aug 2016
Posts: 2
Location: Lakewood, Colorado

PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2016 1:11 am    Post subject: Mason Bee Reply with quote

Hello everyone, just recently purchased a mason bee bamboo house from a gardening magazine. The instructions were extremely vague hang up on a south or southwest wall etc. and that's it. So I didn't purchase any bee eggs or cocoons and some online sites say that they will just find the nest and do their thing. Is this accurate? Several of the bamboo holes are being filled with straw or grass, and every site or all information says mud is and indicator for mason bees, how do I know if it's mason bees nesting and not something else like wasps. Any info will be of tremendous help, thank you!
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Golden Bee

Joined: 31 May 2010
Posts: 1551
Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2016 12:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wasps all have a very narrow waist, so narrow it looks like lymph fluid couldn't get through the gap.

Interestingly, a few years ago in Brittany, we saw mason bees in a disused quarry which was very soft sandstone. There were so many, my initial thought was there was a swarm of honey bees but in fact there were hundreds of small holes they were emerging froml
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Nurse Bee

Joined: 09 Jul 2012
Posts: 25
Location: Vaud, Switzerland

PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2016 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to the wonderful and a possibly underestimated value-added in the world of pollinators - more diverse than honeybees and some will say that they are also equipped naturally and prepared to provide their contribution in more adverse conditions.

Like you, we responded to an advert in our local gardening magazine earlier this year and installed a "bamboo house" supplied by an enterprise that provides bees for pollination to fruit growers. They distribute "cartridges" of bamboo shoots to "investors" (like us who pay once only for the bee home) and we receive a replaceable cartridge with female mason bees included each Spring throughout the country and we send back the populated cartridge in Autumn. This way they avoid creating too great a density of wild bees for the naturally limited available forage in any locality.

So far, is year, we have seen 8 tubes filled by mason bees (grey mud cappings) with an additional 3 tubes filled by leafcutter bees (green leaf cappings), but which were never part of the original consignment. So we are very happy that this bee house has revealed that we have a healthy hitherto unknown local population of leafcutter bees that were very happy to take advantage of the new "des-res" we had conveniently installed in their locality.

I think that when it comes to installing any wild bee nesting house, on any scale, best leave well alone and simply enjoy observing the results as the season progresses.
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Quality Top Bar Hives by Andrew Vidler

Conserving wild bees

Research suggests that bumble bee boxes have a very low success rate in actually attracting bees into them. We find that if you create an environment where first of all you can attract mice inside, such as a pile of stones, a drystone wall, paving slabs with intentionally made cavities underneath, this will increase the success rate.

Most bumble bee species need a dry space about the size a football, with a narrow entrance tunnel approximately 2cm in diameter and 20 cm long. Most species nest underground along the base of a linear feature such as a hedge or wall. Sites need to be sheltered and out of direct sunlight.

There is a spectacular display of wild bee hotels here

More about bumblebees and solitary bees here

Information about the Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum)

Barefoot Beekeeper Podcast

Now available from

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4th Edition paperback now available from

See beekeeping books for details and links to ebook versions.