Would you like to have more fruits and flowers in your yard? One way is to bring in mason bees. Making a home for mason bees in your yard will increase your fruit harvest and encourage native plants.
You have probably read about the alarming decline in bees and other pollinators. This is a big deal because bees are essential to most of the food we eat.
Mason bees are prolific pollinators. A mason bee can visit close to 2,000 flowers each day!
Mason bees are solitary bees (they don’t live in a hive). They are small, shy and non-aggressive, so you don’t need to be concerned about kids or pets.
Where to get bees for your garden
You can buy or rent mason bee houses to pollinate your own garden. It’s best to use local sources.
Crown Bees sells bees and houses. You may also find them at local nurseries.
Renting is an easy way to get started with bees. Rent Mason Bees offers bees for pickup or shipment to your house.
You can also bring in leafcutter bees for plants that bloom later in the year. Like mason bees, they are small, shy, solitary bees. Both Crown Bees and Rent Mason Bees offer leafcutter bees.
How it works
Here’s how it works. You hang a mason bee house on a fence or wall. The bees hatch in spring and fly around your yard, pollinating fruit trees and early blooming spring plants.
After laying their eggs, the bees die. The eggs hatch and become larvae and then fully formed bees in cocoons. Then they hibernate over the winter.
If you have purchased bees, you will need to harvest the cocoons to reduce pests and diseases and then store them properly over the winter. If you have rented bees, you will return them for cleaning and storage.
Commercial uses of bees
In the spring, Rent Mason Bees loads bees (still in their cocoons) on a truck and drives them to eastern Washington, Oregon, Idaho or California. They will be hatched in commercial orchards to pollinate foods such as apples, cherries, pears and almonds. Many of the farmers they work with have chosen to reduce or eliminate pesticides to protect the bees.
Crown Bees is working with organic farms to use bees to increase crop yield. The company has designed a program for Community Supported Agriculture farms. The farmer orders bee kits that contain everything they need to improve pollination of their crops.
Now is the time to order mason bees for early pollination. It’s a simple step to make your garden more productive.
Bees don’t require pruning, weeding or watering. And you can feel good about helping to keep pollinators alive.