PHRAGMITES Reed Tubes for Mason Bee pollinators available for 2018 season

NOTE: I do not have Mason Bee Cocoons available for sale in 2018, however I can provide the stems of the native reed Phragmites australis which are considered to be the best tubes for encouraging the native mason bee pollinators. By putting out the tubes alone without releasing  bees, you can in some areas attract the native pollinators anyway. 

I package these in lots of 30 now for $15.00 plus shipping costs. Included are a variety of lengths and diameters if you want. Smaller diameters attract other mason bee species. Indicate the maximum tube length you prefer when ordering. Ordering by Paypal  is acceptable or you may pick them up at our farm in Metchosin on Southern Vancouver island.

Price for 30 tubes=$15..00
GST and PST= $1.75
packaging and shipping= $2.70
Total = $19.35.. use the paypal button below:



Price for 60 tubes= $30.00
GST and PST = $ 3.50
packaging and shipping= $2.70
Total= $ 36.10…Use the paypal button below:

Basket full of cut Phragmites tubes..
Some successful Phragmites tubes split open in November before cleaning out the cocoons.



I am short of mason bee cocoons this year,  but even if you can’t get a source for bees this year, you can set out some of these tubes placed in a suitable re-purposed home made from a PVC pipe (or see other homemade suggestions if you scroll down through postings here), and you will probably attract native mason bees.

Ad on Used Victoria:–30-in-packet_24676827


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Put Out Your Mason Bees when Pollinators are Needed

The time to put out your mason bees which have been overwintered in your refrigerator is when you need them to do their work. I release mine in batches.  The first batch was several weeks ago when the peaches and nectarines were in bloom. This week, the pears, plums and cherries are in bloom so I just put out  another batch of cocoons near my bee homes. I will save the last batch for my apple trees which bloom later.

2016-03-31 peachI had to transplant this peach tree this year to the corner of the vegetable preparation building so I found another good spot to place a bee home.

Phragmites Reeds for Mason Bee tubes

Phragmites in estuary/marsh
Last years stems of Phragmites in estuary/marsh being harvested for mason bee tubes. It is important that this is done only before new shoots start to emerge.  I have a theory that this native Phragmites exists in this marsh only because the marsh was fenced in the early years to prevent grazing by cattle and sheep. It has been eliminated from most of the other marshes in BC by grazing (personal communication with Robert Prescott-Allen). The reason this marsh was fenced was that the plant Triglochin maritima  (Sea arrow grass) grows in the marsh and it is toxic to grazers.


“Seaside arrow-grass (Triglochin maritima) is a native plant found sporadically across Canada in saline, brackish, or fresh marshes and shores. This plant contains cyanogenic glycosides, which can release HCN during mastication by animals. Poisoning occurs primarily with ruminants, including cattle and sheep. The concentration of toxic chemicals increases during times of moisture depletion (Majak et al. 1980, Cooper and Johnson 1984, Poulton 1989).”




Phragmites australis subsp. americanus: the native reed grass on Vancouver Island

phragmitesYou will find many articles on the internet about the invasive species of Phragmites but the one that grows here on Vancouver Island is the Native species, Phragmites australis (Cav.) Trin. ex Steud. subsp. americanus. 

The following article on the Metchosin Coastal website describes an example of  misidentification of this species in British Columbia. titled:

A new Lease on Life for the Rare Marsh Plant: Phragmites australis subsp. americanus–A note of caution when attempting to control Invasive Species.


Ocean Spray in flower : June 13 -Phenology

2015-06-21 ocsprayOne of the latest blooming native shrubs on the farm is the Ocean Spray. These bushes can be up to 10 metres in height.




Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Holodiscus
Species: H. discolor[1]

Holodiscus discolor (Pursh) Maxim.

Ocean Spray in the pasture

Mock Orange –phenology 2015

Several small clumps of Mock orange survive in the roundabout in the laneway. It was transplanted here from Hornby Island.
2015-06-04 mockorange
Kingdom Plantae –
Subkingdom Viridiplantae
Infrakingdom Streptophyta – land plants
Superdivision Embryophyta
Division Tracheophyta – vascular plants,
Subdivision Spermatophytina
Class Magnoliopsida
Superorder Asteranae
Order Cornales
Family Hydrangeaceae –
Genus Philadelphus L. –, mock orange
Species Philadelphus lewisii Pursh – Lewis’ mock orange

Native Plants of Metchosin- blooming this week

This past week brought the emergence of flowering on several more of the native plants we have on the farm.