DIY





How to Attract Mason Bees: A Beneficial Pollinator

The mason bee is a great pollinator and can work blossoms at a lower temperature than honeybees.

| February 5, 2013

This article is part of our Organic Pest Control Series, which includes articles on attracting beneficial insects, controlling specific garden pests, and using organic pesticides.  

The Mason Bee (Osmia species)

In areas where cool temperatures limit honeybee activity during the spring blooming of fruit trees and blueberries, native mason bees are the pollinators that get the job done. Smaller than honeybees with dark bodies that often have a metallic sheen, mason bees can work blossoms at lower temperatures than honeybees. In much of North America, mason bees emerge when the redbuds bloom, with populations highest during apple blossom time.

Sometimes called orchard bees or blue orchard bees, most mason bees are solitary insects that nest in holes in trees, or in hollow stems of old elderberries, brambles or similar vegetation. Mason bees are so named because they pack mud into their nests, like brick masons.

Females are motivated to collect pollen because they include a ball of pollen with each egg they pack away into a mud-lined cell. After six weeks or so of busy pollen and mud collection, adult mason bees die and there is no further activity until the following spring. 



Mason Bees Are Prolific Pollinators  

Adult mason bees sip nectar as they gather pollen from a wide assortment of flowers, but they prefer to find good pollen sources within 300 feet of their nests.

Up to 1,500 blossoms per day must be visited to gather enough pollen to provision the next generation, so mason bees can be phenomenally efficient pollinators of fruits. Only three female mason bees can serve the pollination needs of a mature apple tree. 

cat
12/31/2014 5:08:28 PM

hey, stufflebeam, don't but your mason bees in the fridge! It's a common misconception that it's good for them, but your bees should stay from 50-60 degrees at least - the cold can kill them. Good luck!


stufflebeam
2/12/2014 10:24:07 AM

I read somewhere about keeping them in the refrigerator. Any advise on the do & don't of this?







mother earth news fair 2018 schedule

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Next: August 4-5, 2018
Albany, OR

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!

LEARN MORE







Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Money-Saving Tips in Every Issue!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).


Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard