Sunday, February 9, 2014
Posted By: in Gardening

Introduction to Mason Bees

The Mason Bee is named for its habit of using mud to build nest compartments. The orchard mason bee is one of the best pollinators around. They can easily be mistaken for a small black & blue fly about 2/3 the size of a honey bee.

Image Courtesy: www.neighborhoodnotes.com

Whether you have fruit trees, a vegetable garden, or flowers, these bees will ensure you get the most out of what you are growing. While much attention has been paid to the honey bee, it is important to note that mason bees are exceptional pollinators without the wax, honey, swarm or sting.

It has been estimated that a honey bee can pollinate about 5% of the flowers it visits, whereas the mason bee pollinates about 95% and visits twice as many flowers! This pollination is crucial to growing vegetables and fruit and can help ensure a much greater yield in your garden.

How To Start Mason Bees

Mason bees require a nesting hole (drilled or nature made by beetles) 5/16 of an inch in diameter and 4 inches long. Arts Nursery has a great selection of custom made mason bee houses, and replacement tubes. We also sell boxes of bees instore during the early spring.

buy mason bee hives

You’ll want to put your bee hive outside during the month of March or April. Find a place in your yard that will be protected from rain and where the house will get morning sun, or a south-facing wall to maximize warmth from the sun. This will ensure that they are kept dry and the bees wake up earlier, ensuring more flowers are visited.

The males are the first on the scene, but these are not your key pollinators. They are necessary for reproduction of more female bees. The females will begin arriving around April, and in the month that follows, you will see the difference these bees will make in your garden.

Be sure to have plants that support their food needs. The earliest blooming food source (for pollinators) in the pacific west coast area is the red-flowering currant (Ribes sanguineum) certainly one of the most beloved and showy of native northwest shrubs. They offer a brilliant display of red flowers in spring, growing best in rocky, well-drained soil in a sunny location.This deciduous shrub can feed mason bees as well as early visiting humming birds.

Life cycle of the Mason Bee

Early Spring:
Adult bees break through mud walls and emerge from the bee box nests. The male bees, which leave the nest 2 weeks before the females, patiently wait for the females so that the mating process can begin. Once the female bees make it to the outside world (before their wings have a chance to dry) they are attacked and fertilized by the male bees. Then the males die.

Late Spring:
Females lay both fertilized and unfertilized eggs in the nesting holes and a mixture of pollen and nectar (bee pudding) is placed next to each egg. All of the fertilized eggs will produce female bees, whereas unfertilized ones will produce males. The female will lay about 35 eggs over 4-6 weeks, each one in its own protective chamber, sealed with mud. The egg turns into a larva in about 4 days, and eats it’s food supply.

Summer:
Larvae spin cocoons within the nesting hole. By September they are adult bees, but stay in a dormant state until next spring.

Winter:
The new bees are getting ready for early spring when they will emerge from their nests.

Mason Bee supplies are available in-store and online at our new web store: http://shop.artsnursery.com. The actual Mason Bees are available from February through April, in-store only.

If you have any questions about Mason Bees, please feel free to drop by or give us a call at Art's Nursery, 604.882.1201, during business hours.

Rebecca van der Zalm

Rebecca van der Zalm

Rebecca is an owner and the ‘Plant Boss’ of Art’s Nursery Garden & Home, a large family owned garden centre in Surrey. Fueled by her passion for plants and the occasional grande vanilla latte, Rebecca strives to share her love of gardening at every opportunity. The goal: to offer more service, more selection and more fun.
Tel:604.882.1201
Email:rmrazek@artsnursery.com
Web:http://www.artsnursery.com
Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/artsnursery
Twitter:http://www.twitter.com/artsnursery


Sponsored Advertisement

Blog Profile

arts nursery logo
Art's Nursery is a 10+ acre retail and wholesale garden centre located in Surrey, a suburb of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. We've been in business at this same location since 1973 and we're proud to serve you today!

We carry an incredible selection of plants, shrubs, trees, annuals, perennials, vines, groundcovers, roses and much more. Soils, bulk materials, pottery and a variety of garden accents are also available.

Our plant selection is so large that you can actually drive a golf cart while you shop!

We pride ourselves on providing high quality plant, expert advice and an exceptional gardening experience.

Blog Search

Recent Posts

Tuesday, August 6, 2019
20 New Fall Planting Bulbs for 2019

With the final days of summer slowly approaching it’s only natural for us gardeners to start plannin...

Sunday, August 4, 2019
Fruit Fool

August is upon us and, almost to compensate for this wistful reminder of summers end, we are rewarde...

Sunday, August 4, 2019
Quince & Fig Chutney

The all too brief season of figs will soon be upon us. Fig trees are a treasure of the European gard...

Wednesday, July 24, 2019
The Summer Garden

There is a myth, probably born in heat & nurtured in the longing for shade & leisure, that there “is...

Wednesday, July 24, 2019
Stone Fruit Chutney

In July and August, all the stone fruits begin to ripen - there is an abundance of plums, apricots &...

Wednesday, July 24, 2019
Hummingbirds Like It Hot, Bees Have the Blues & Butterflies Play the Field

Summer is finally here, and the garden is in full bloom and the weeds have settled to a dull roar.  ...

Thursday, June 20, 2019
Introduction to Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas are a lovely and diverse genus, many of which have become essential parts of our garden v...

Thursday, June 20, 2019
Learn to Grow Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas are a very easy care shrub, especially for us here on the west coast, but good cultivatio...


Tag Cloud

bulbs fall bulbs planting spring flowers flowering gardening pacific northwest british columbia canada blooming narcissus daffodils tulips tulipa hyacinth muscari grape hyacinth crocus iris foxtail lily camas lilyfruit fool blog recipe fruit peaches nectarines stone fruit family whipped cream sugar local produce local surrey vancouverquince fig ficus fig tree chutney fresh fruit baking delicious food jam flavor diy shop localsummer garden summertime pollinators plants perennials relaxing nature deadhead hydrangeas hibiscus fruit trees pruning growing cooking cherries apricots canning bees hummingbirds butterflies crocrosmia rudbeckia watering mophead hydrangeas lacecap hydrangeas hydrangea basics what is a hydrangea deciduous shrub hydrangea plants panicle hydrangea paniculatahow to grow hydrangeas learn to grow hydrangeas hydrangea care growing hydrangeasnew plants whats new arts nursery ruffles echeveria spinning gum tree eucalyptus hop organic compost fuyu persimmon itoh peony Joanna marlene itoh peony baptisiahanging baskets hanging basket tips hanging basket care growing hanging basketsroses select roses brad brad roses vogue anniversary vogue rose red rose pink rose apricot rose fragrance lower mainland nursery garden centrecamellia evergreen shrub shrub blooms winter blooms camelia japonica debutante bob hope sasanqua yuletide winter containers porch pots winter planters winter decorations Christmas planters Christmas containers Christmas potsgift ideas Christmas gifts great Christmas ideas garderns gift ideas gift ideas for gardenersdeciduous trees smaller conifers smaller yards dwarf conifers small space gardeningfall fall gardening winter gardening November plants with fall colour fall colour winter berriesgreen manure cover crops fall crops fall rye rejuvenation mix fall foliage plant combinationsgarden. edibles fall veggies farmers markets long table dinner kale fall and winter gardensferns woodland plants tree ferns polystichum adiantum dryopteris plants for shade

Blog Roll

Other interesting gardening blogs that we follow include:

Blog RSS Feed

Keep in touch by subscribing to our RSS/Atom News Feeds


Subscribe Via FeedBurner

 Subscribe in a reader

Art's Nursery Ltd.

8940 192nd Street,
Surrey, BC, Canada,
V4N 3W8

Tel: (604) 882-1201
Fax: (604) 882-5969
Email: info@artsnursery.com
Hours:Hours of Operation
Map:Map & Directions
Contact:Contact Us

Art's Nursery is dog friendly

Subscribe to Our E-Newsletter

Copyright (c) 2019 Art's Nursery Ltd.  | 8940 192nd Street, Surrey, BC, Canada, V4N 3W8  | tel: 604.882.1201  | SiteMap  | Privacy Statement |