Attract Mason Bees by Building Homes

Attract Mason Bees by Building Homes

Attract Mason bees by building homes. A Mason bee pollinates early spring orchards, flowers and berry canes for about a 4 week period. They collect nectar and pollen to line their nests and thus, in doing so; are pollinating all our spring-flowering plants.

If you would like to read more about the lifecycle and job of the Mason bee, read my article HERE.

Try Your Hand at Providing a Home for Mason Bees

Attract Mason Bees by Building Homes:

Design #1
You can build your own Mason bee homes buy providing tubular cavities and/or by using a 5/16″ diameter drill bit to drill holes into natural or untreated wood for the bees. It can be as large or as small as you would like.

A Place to store wood and a Mason bee home.

The house above was built in an A frame design using cedar and non-treated lumber. It uses natural wood that has been drilled (5/16″ diameter drill bit) to provide the cavities for homes.

Mason Bees Flying Into House

Design #2
The second design pictured above, is a multi-purpose frame design. The top part is enclosed and holds replaceable tubes that are meant for nesting Mason bees.

The holes that are drilled below the Mason bee tubes are meant to house ladybugs. The two sections are closed off from one another.

Mason Bee Lining Her Hole.

Design #3
The third design also uses the framing like above.  Except this house doesn’t have the ladybug home below it.  It fills the frame with two different choices for Mason bees.

The bees have two choices. Either the round, wood pieces that have been drilled out or the tubes. See picture below for an additional view.

Mason Bee Home

Design #4

Another idea for you.  Can you tell I like choices?  Use something round to hold your rods. Attach it snug to a pole.

You can build wind and rain protection barriers.  See the picture from John Hritz below. The Picture below belongs to him and is being shared by using a Creative Commons License. 

Mason bee house - Round house using replaceable rods.

Design #5

The last idea came from adapting an idea seen on Flickr by Joe Thomissen.  The Picture below belongs to him and is being shared by using a Creative Commons License.

Mason Bee Hotel - Cheap alternative to purchasing anything.

Drilling Holes in Untreated Lumber:

1.) Use 2 pieces of untreated 4″ x 6″ lumber. (He used 1- pole/post type timber.  To keep costs down I am doing the 4″ x 6″.  But use what you have.)

2.) Glue the boards together with Titebond II non toxic glue. Gluing the boards together will allow you to drill deeper holes and to drill across the grain.  This provides a cleaner hole with less sanding involved.

3.) Using a 5/16″ diameter drill bit, drill holes about 5-1/2″ inches deep on 3/4 inch centers.

4.) Use a round file to clean out wood shavings and smooth the drilled holes. Having a clean, smooth hole is important.

5.) Attach your new home and wait for visitors. Screw or bracket them under some sort of shelter from the rain and wind. Maybe on the side of a building that has an overhang?

Location To Place Mason Bee House:

1.) Search for a location with early morning sun. This warms the nest quicker and thus, females search for nesting locations that have early morning sun.

2.) Protect the nest from the elements. If you want to attract a mother bee, you have to think like one. Momma wants to protect her young from the elements like wind and water. Providing a place under a building or overhang, out of the wind would be ideal.

3.) Ideally most Mason bee nesting sites that I have come in contact with are 4 to 6 feet off the ground. That may be something to consider.

Plenty of Products on the Market To Purchase:
If you don’t want to try your hand at building a home, buy one.

What Other Bees Will Use the Same House?
Leafcutter bees. They are a little later in the season and your garden pollinators.

Hope this helps you attract mason bees by building homes and gives you many choices to choose from.

Until next time friends.  Take Care!

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