Saturday, April 3, 2010

More Bees? Sort of...

I frequent an on-line forum for beekeepers, and have learned a ton of information. There is a section of the forum dedicated to "alternate polinators" and one of the insects they discuss often is the Mason Bee.

The Mason Bee is a solitary bee, and you can't really keep a beehive of mason bees, but you can set out nesting boxes and maybe a female mason bee will take up residence.

There is a website called Dave's Bees where Dave discusses mason bees, and shows how to make a mason bee nest block. Here is the video he put together:

That looks like the level of complexity that I can handle! I had the 2x6 that I needed. Unfortunately, I didn't have the long drill bits. Lowes and Home Depot wanted around $16 for a single bit the size I needed. So I went to the place where I go when I want a deal - eBay! I found on eBay a set of 7 long drill bits for less than the single bit at Lowes. They came Friday, so I spent some time drilling the wood.

Here are the 2 pieces of wood I drilled for the nest box:

I deviated from Dave's plans a little, by staggering the holes so I can fit more in. I judged this to be OK, since other mason bee nests have tubes a lot closer together.

I needed to make some kind of a roof to keep the rain off, so I pulled out a scrap 1x4 and whipped this up:

Here's the mason bee nesting blocks in the enclosure:

I am told that all I need to do is put up the block with the holes facing south, so here it is attached to my back deck:

We'll see in the fall if any mason bees find it a good place to nest!


  1. Good to see you taking up the mason bee hobby - your photos are nice and clear.

    Have you noticed many mason bees around you where you live? If so have you an idea of what you may get?

    Hope to see you getting some results from this. It may depend on how far North you are, but a lot of people also say East-facing is also good (for the morning sun).

    Cheers, Paul.

  2. Since last year was my 1st year as a (honey)beekeeper, I started paying attention to the flying things around me. I remember seeing bees which didn't look like traditional bees - smaller, darker, and more silver. So I am hopeful I will get some visitors.

    P.S. I just added your blog to my subscription list - nice blog!

  3. No bees moved in yet --- it's been a whole 3 days!!! What are they waiting for!?!? :-)

  4. You have built it, they will come.
    Nice job!

  5. I know it's been six years, but did the mason bees ever move in?

  6. Wow - time flies! :-) I left it out all season and it was utterly ignored. So I took it down. I suspect there isn't enough nearby mud (which the mason bees use to plug the holes).


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