Let Me Bee,Let Me Bee, Let Me Bee Lover

April by

 

It is to be hoped, of course, that North America’s honey bees will survive disease and the invasion of their hyper-aggressive southern cousins. But with that uncertain, like many gardeners I now host a colony of mason bees. Small, colorless, they are said to be great pollinators.

My small but growing colony came into existence with only the slightest help from me. A couple of years ago, having done a bit or reading about mason bees and imagining myself willing to build a home for them I discovered that the bees themselves were in short supply.

Intuiting that there must be a few flying free I nevertheless purchased some nesting tubes. I didn’t get a box built for them that year but, one morning, saw emerging from a deep hole countersunk into a bedstead hung on the east side of my workshop for shelving, what I thought was surely…..a mason bee.

Then out came another from yet another countersunk hole. Well, where better to locate a colony than where the bees themselves chose to nest? Always happy to take what seems freely offered I simply placed my rubber-banded roll of tubes into an old piece of aluminum pipe on the shelf immediately above the countersunk holes (Under the final ‘4’ of my retired log salvage license plates)

And abracadabra, a few weeks later, all but a few were occupied.

And in last week’s little warm spell a quick check revealed the sealed ends of the tubes breached and my new pollinators departed for work.

I was so tickled.

Having recently obtained an old trampoline with a view to repurposing the frame , I now posses a number of foam tubes that had been slid over the uprights supporting the safety net. These I cut to the length of my bee tubes and in each house a dozen or so, intuiting that the small insulating factor might enhance bee survival. Being white, they shouldn’t heat up and trigger premature hatching.  You can see some of the newly vacated tubes, which I’ll swap out for new ones and burn to destroy mites.

Who knows, another year or two and I just might have a bedstead full of bees, enough for a neighborhood of gardens and wild flora too.

  • Alton Toth

    This is really cool. Until seeing this page, I had NO idea that these bees even existed. I have several early blooming fruit trees, and while I’d love to have bees to help pollinate, I don’t want the harvesting work that goes into it (plus I have a small child). Having done some reading, these guys may be perfect.

  • Alton Toth

    Actually, a guy in the seattle area made some trays that can be harvested and cleaned and reused every year. Might be better than the expendable tubes? http://www.masonbee.blogspot.ca/

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This