Putting Out Your Mason Bee House: 4 Tips to Happier, Healthier Mason Bees

I’m so excited, I’m practically buzzing right now.

All boxed up

Mason bees

My mason bees have arrived! 600 of  them to be precise. They’re sitting inside my refrigerator, keeping cool while waiting for the temperatures outside to warm up.

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It’s tough. I’ve been waiting for so long for the bees to arrive. I’m itching to bring them outside and let them free.

But I can’t.

According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, daily daytime temperatures won’t consistently exceed 10 degrees C for a while, and chance of frost won’t be past for almost two months. If I don’t want the bees to die from starvation or frost, I just have to wait.

So if you’re preparing your garden to have mason bees, here is something you can start to do NOW. Look for a place where you can place their home.

Here are four things you need to know about mason bees and placing mason bee houses:

  1. Mason bees are early risers – and love the early morning sun. Make sure that the place you want to give them has a south-eastern or SSE view of the sun. They need it to help them wake up and warm up.
  2. The best height for placement of a mason bee house is approximately 4 feet off the ground. You can mount the nesting house to your home, a fence, a shed or anything else. Just make sure it’s stable.
  3. Mason bees need mud. Yes, I said mud. If you can’t find a good quality clay when you dig down about 1 foot with a shovel, consider investing in a tiny bit of clay (you can get it from the gardening store). Keep the soil damp, as the bees need it for their nesting activity. No mud = no bees.
  4. Because mason bees are early pollinators, there aren’t often many  plants that are ready for foraging early in the season. If you want to have happy, healthy mason bees, make sure they have flowers to pollinate before they emerge. Plant hardy (preferably native species) plants (depending on your growing zone, heather might work well) nearby to give them some food until the fruit and berry bushes start to flower.

Now you have something to keep you busy until the better weather comes along.


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