While mason bees resemble honey bees in appearance, they behave considerably differently. Mason bees live alone, but honey bees reside in a hive with thousands of other bees. Many people are interested in having a mason bee house in their yard because of the docile temperament of the mason bee. Purchasing a mason bee house is simple, but once you have done so, you will need to know where can you buy mason bees?
What are Mason Bees?
Mason bees are little, solitary bees that build their homes out of mud. That is how they got their moniker. Mason bees like to build their nests in narrow, dark areas, such as cracks in a wall or hollow branches. They have also been observed nesting in holes in wood created by other insects.
Mason bees do not produce honey, beeswax, or honeycombs. They are, nevertheless, great pollinators. Dry pollen is carried by female Mason bees on the underside of their abdomen. Pollen drips off her body when she visits flowers, leading to pollination. Mason bees will visit several flowers throughout the day.
A Mason Bee’s life cycle
All female mason bees are reproductive, unlike honey bees, where only the queen produces eggs. Male mason bees emerge first from their cocoons and hover nearby until the females appear. Males die after mating, and females begin collecting pollen for their nest.
In her nest, the mason bee makes a supply pile consisting of pollen and honey. She then places an egg on top of it. Finally, the bee seals the cell with mud and repeats the process until her nest is filled. Male eggs are laid near the back of the hole, while female eggs are laid near the front. When she is through the cavity, she will muck up the tube and move on to another nesting site to lay additional eggs.
Later, the larva hatches and begins to feed on the temporary mass. When the larva has finished eating, it spins a cocoon around itself to begin the pupal stage. It hibernates until the autumn, when it emerges as an adult mason bee.
The benefits of raising Mason bees
- Mason bees are superb pollinators. If you have mason bees nearby, you will have a productive garden.
- Mason bees are non-venomous and rarely sting. You can study them without worrying about being stung if you do not wear any protective equipment.
- They are substantially less expensive to raise than honey bees. Mason bees simply need a housing and nesting tubes, whereas honey bees require a plethora of apparatus.
- Mason bees are tough. They are less prone to disease than honey bees and are even resistant to the fatal varroa mite. However, additional pests afflict mason bees, so make sure to replace their nesting tubes every 1 – 2 season.
- By rearing mason bees, you are helping to rescue the bees.
Where to buy Mason bees?
You will need to know where to get mason bees after you’ve purchased a mason bee house. There are two methods for obtaining mason bees: build a bee house and wait for them to come, or buy mason bee cocoons.
Mason bee cocoons are usually purchased online. There are several websites that sell various sorts of mason bee cocoons. Crown Bees, a well-known retailer of mason bees, comes highly recommended. You may easily select a shipping date for your mason bee cocoons on their website. They suggest selecting a date two weeks before your first fruit tree is due to bloom.
Crown Bees is a reputable supplier of solitary bee housing, accessories, and bee cocoons. They sell mason bees and leafcutter bees in the spring and summer. The bees arrive in the form of cocoons, which are then placed in or near a bee house to hatch.
Mason bees and Leafcutter bees are the two types of solitary bees available at Crown Bees. Mason bees hatch from their cocoons in early spring, while leafcutter bees hatch in early summer. Both species are superb pollinators.
>>> Read more: TOP 10 Best Mason Bee Houses
How to care for Mason bees?
Mason bees are simple to care for. Place the mason bee cocoons into the bee house after it has been set up. The cocoons are not required to be placed in the nesting holes. When the bee emerges from the cocoon, it will seek out a nesting site on its own.
When the daytime temperature is 55 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, release mason bee cocoons. There should be plenty of blossoming flowers for them to obtain pollen and nectar from. Mason bees require mud for their nests, so make sure there is a mud source nearby.
Mason bees can be dispersed in two waves to extend the pollination season. Half of your cocoons should be released at the start of the season, with the remaining half released a few weeks later. By mid-May, all mason bee cocoons should be released.
Harvesting Mason bees cocoons
The entire tube can be removed once the nesting holes are filled with mud. Place the tubes in a ventilated bag and store them somewhere safe. By removing the tubes, the cocoons protect against parasites, fungus, and illness.
In the fall, the cocoons can be extracted from the tubes. In the tubes, there will be dirt and trash, so sort through it all to find the cocoons. After that, the cocoons should be washed in a solution of 1 gallon lukewarm water and ¼ cups of bleach. To kill fungus spores, stir the cocoons in the water for about 2 minutes. Remove the cocoons and set them aside to dry.
It is now time to examine your mason bee cocoons. Remove any c-shaped cocoons as they are possibly infected with a fungus. Remove any cocoons that have holes in them, as this is a symptom of parasitic illness. You should refrigerate the remaining cocoons until they are ready to ship.
Mason bees are low-maintenance bees to keep. If you are looking for a place to buy mason bees, we recommend Crown Bees. You can even collect your own mason bee cocoons for use the following season.