Provide a Source of Mud for Mason Bees

A t this time of year as you set out your mason bee cocoons, dont forget to provide a ready source of mud. This video shows a little trick I discovered where they seem to prefer mud tunnels to gather their mud for the tubes.  This makes sense as there is less chance of predation by birds when picking up mud when the bees are out of sight.

Dig a small 5″ deep trench within a few metres of your bee houses, and bore horizontal holes into  the side of it. Put a bucket of water in the trench when it looks dry.

A late Season here for Mason Bees

It has been so cool in the last month here in Metchosin that my mason bees have almost missed the peach and nectarine blooming time.

A peach tree on the left with blossoms deteriorating, and a nectarine on the right at the south side of my barn. Three Mason bee houses are in the centre.

Update–April 15: Today they were the most active i have seen them . I started putting a few cocoons out a week ago, and have warmed up some indoors by just removing their containers  from the fridge and then setting the jar out in the daytime when the sun is on them.  Anyway a very unusual cold start for the spring.

I have several kinds of houses placed on the South East corner of our house.

 

I still have Phragmites tubes left but all out of cocoons for 2017

Basket full of cut tubes..

I package these in lots of 30 now for $15.00.I include a variety of lengths and diameters if you want.  Smaller diameters attract other mason bee species.

Some successful tubes split open before cleaning out the cocoons.

Even if you cant get bees this year, set out some tubes placed in a home made from a PVC pipe and you will probably attract native ones.