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Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

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Mason bees

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Mason bees - Page 2 Empty Re: Mason bees

Post  Kelejan 12/31/2014, 8:54 pm

@nosmok wrote:From what I've read it seems the issue may be extreme cold or nest infiltration.  The Crown Bees site has lots of good info
I think another problem may be damp?
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Post  sanderson 1/1/2015, 3:56 am

Is there a time during the year that they will be empty of viable eggs/cocoons so the block can be taken apart for house keeping?

Nosmok, Will you post a photo of the shelter when done? Thank you
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Post  nosmok 1/1/2015, 2:37 pm

The trays should be taken apart in late September/October to harvest the larvae and store them.  The holes are 5/16 inch in diameter to fit the mason bee.  This bee is an early spring pollinator, then it seals its hole with mud and the larvae develop on the pollen that was harvested in the nest.
For later spring pollination you can use the leafcutter bee.  It nests in a 1/4 inch hole.  So I might make separate trays for this later spring bee and just switch them out when the nests are sealed.  The sealed mason bee nests can be stored plug side up in a mesh bag to prevent infiltration by pests until ready to open in fall.

I'll post pictures of the houses when built!
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Post  sanderson 1/1/2015, 4:03 pm

Nosmok,  Thank you.
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Post  nosmok 1/3/2015, 5:45 pm

Rainy day here in Memphis. Great opportunity to turn some old barnwood into the houses for my mason bee trays.  As you can see the trays are easily removable and I plan on mounting the houses to a wooden fence near my garden.  My son and I played with a few design ideas.  There's enough space to place the juvenile pulpae on top of the trays in early spring and even surround the trays with addition paper straws to increase the nesting area.

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Post  sanderson 1/4/2015, 3:24 am

Thank you for posting the step by step directions and photos. I'm a thinkin' thinking
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Post  sanderson 4/12/2015, 8:58 pm

Post  FRED58 Today at 5:53
Funny, I could have sworn I had posted on this thread. Anyway there are lots of ways to attract solitary bees to your garden. Try Googling "Mason Bee House". (Mason Bees are common all over North America, and good pollinators). The homes are easy to build, but you can also buy them from Amazon and Lee Valley (I don't know if Lee Valley is in the US though). Good luck and welcome from the Great White North!

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Post  sanderson 4/12/2015, 9:00 pm

Fred, Your first post on Mason Bees was misplaced by me. I will try to see where I accidentally put it and restore it to this topic. My apologies. Now, where did I put my glasses?

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Post  nosmok 4/12/2015, 9:02 pm

Just put my cocoons out today behind the blocks with the holes.  Use the "attractant" and spread some "clayey" material in the vicinity.  Will advise if I have success in the next weeks!
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Post  sanderson 4/12/2015, 9:03 pm

Thanks, Nosmok

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Post  Pepper 4/12/2015, 9:30 pm

pollen mites invade the cocoons damaging the larva before it can hatch. here is a youtube video explaining why you don't want to chance leaving them in a tube    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJFvmJlPUng

here is a how to clean mason bee larva and how to store them till they have a food source
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PrZkT9cC99k
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Post  has55 7/30/2015, 10:25 am

I didn't get my mason bees started this year. The tornado set me back. Did anyone have any success with them?
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Post  Scorpio Rising 7/30/2015, 12:46 pm

Honestly, I never knew these existed. I have been concentrating on making my gardens honeybee safe, and encouraging other local pollinators to visit. Interesting! This year, I have not had the problems with poor pollination that I have had in the past, but I didn't plant cucumbers, and they are kinda picky in the "full pollination" department, in my experience. Next year, I will plant and trellis one or two. I have PLENTY of pole beans and can spare some vertical space.

study
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Post  has55 5/16/2016, 12:59 pm

Still repairing from may 2015 storm. Didn't get mason bees started. I don't know if it too late. Just got the aquajet irrigation pipes in front lawn repaired from the storm that rip out and totaled my two large trees.
Did anyone try mason bees this year?
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Post  CapeCoddess 5/16/2016, 2:44 pm

No, but when I looked at Google photos of them they look just about like house flies, which is really too bad.  Makes me wonder how many get swatted.  I think I saw one that wasn't quite a fly though ib one of the fruit trees and thought maybe that was it.  I need to snap a photo and post it.

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Post  Kelejan 5/17/2016, 12:38 am

I thought mason bees looked like small, solitary bees. I had better look up a picture of them so that I don't swat them.

I had a slice of log that I had drilled holes in and I do know that two of them were filled in and that this spring they are open.  So maybe I will have done some good.
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Post  trolleydriver 5/17/2016, 9:24 am

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Post  Kelejan 5/17/2016, 1:29 pm

Well, it seems some mason bees look a bit like bees, and the blue orchard looks a bit like a large fly. Thanks for the pictures, TD. I will look carefully before I swat.

Yes, you can start a mason hive as they will want to go into it for the winter, so if they know it is there, perhaps they will remember at the right time.
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Post  has55 10/18/2016, 6:20 am

great article TD.
Yesterday, I had brought some old dry molasses for his new SFG bed to increase bacterial/fungi life. I sat the bag down on the ground near us and  we sat down to talk.While we were sitting, aprox 10 minutes we had about 20 mason bees hovering around us, but at ground level near the dry molasses. He said he had never seen mason bees in his yard, esp in a group. I guess they were after the molasses.
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Post  rajmahendra 10/20/2016, 5:43 am

Trying my hand with Mason Bees in my garden! 

home for 4 as of now.... as progress.. will increase moooore Smile 

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Post  Kelejan 10/20/2016, 4:27 pm

I made my first Mason Bee home last year when I took a section of log and drilled some holes in it.  In the spring there were four holes sealed up, and later on they all cleared so I am hoping that they did indeed shelter some bees during the winter.

I never realised how hard a section of log was until I tried drilling some holes.  Had to get my neighbour to do the drilling for me.
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Post  rajmahendra 10/20/2016, 9:50 pm

@Kelejan wrote:I made my first Mason Bee home last year when I took a section of log and drilled some holes in it.  In the spring there were four holes sealed up, and later on they all cleared so I am hoping that they did indeed shelter some bees during the winter.

I never realised how hard a section of log was until I tried drilling some holes.  Had to get my neighbour to do the drilling for me.
Share pics Smile  
I saw some bee here and there and i see some drill home in the pot sand ! Not sure they are mason bee or carpenter bee!  Lets see how it come up Smile
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Post  recoush 10/21/2016, 5:08 pm

Using sand is the bests way to clean, use clean sand remember to only use the sand once and use new clean sand each time and before you  only reuse the sand after you have heated it to kill the mites. that is all i use thanks for keeping our pollinators, there are 3 kinds in my garden drones, mason and leaf cutters. lots of good info, thanks
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Post  Scorpio Rising 10/23/2016, 8:45 pm

Carpenters are big, and to distinguish fron bumbles, carpenters have shiny black butts, where bumbles are fuzzy.  

Mason's are smaller and fuzzy.
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Post  SwampTroll 5/18/2017, 9:59 am

I've got a question that I'm hoping the folks in here can help me with.

I'm not looking to set up a hive per say, but I am looking at perhaps getting a beehouse or two so that the solitary bees can have someplace to crash.  The issue I have is that the bees I see around my place are closer to hummingbirds in size and all the beehouses I've seen around here are for things the size of flying ants.

Are the big bumblebee looking bees not solitary and as such don't need beehouses?  If they are, where can I find a house that'll actually fit them?
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