It's nearing the end of March, that means our little garden pollinators the mason bees are going to come out of their little not so cute cocoons to emerge into a cozy new home that you can make them in a handful of easy steps.
First, if you've got a wood shop and tools, then you're golden, I don't so I drove to my parent's house to use theirs, plus, they have a built in baby sitter for my 1 year old, so that's a bonus.

ETA after trial and error I found that lining the holes is essential and keeps the bees happy and, well alive!

Step 1: Things to swipe

Things you'll need:
Babysitter (if applicable)
Piece of dry, untreated wood, (I used a log intended for a fireplace)
Chop saw or chainsaw to cut wood
two pieces of flat wood for the roof
drill press or hand drill
nail gun
water sealer
Dremel tool
bee cocoons
<p>This is a great idea. I can build some this weekend to be ready for the bee arrival in spring. It seems that you drill the holes such that the shaft is parallel to the ground. Perhaps angling the shaft upwards (5 degrees ??) from the entrance to the back wall would help keep out rainwater. Is this advisable?</p>
<p>Naturally they don't seem to do that angle, I've had many bees nest around the property, in screw holes, in the rubber roofing tiles of our kids' playhouse, and they're all very parallel to the ground. To avoid rain I'd just build a roof! This whole mason bee obsession was a gateway, now I keep honeybees and omfg I'm bee obsessed</p>
<p>How is the beekeeping? I'm starting this year! </p>
Hello. New here and doing some Mason Bee research. First of all (KnexFreek) afraid of Mason Bees, Boo! afraid of your shadow too? LMAO! <br>Danica's design using lenths of raw logs is not such a bad one actually and could be designed into a pretty funky Bee house. (I've already got some ideas). One thing I've read about this type of design is how difficult cleaning and keeping your little ones safe over the winter is. As Vlatro says, yes cutting a paper bag and lining the holes is a good idea and much cheaper than buying paper tubes. But I read that using Bakers parchment paper is even better for keeping everything dry and removing your Bee cocoons to save for the next year. This particular blogspot has some excellent information on cleaning and preserving cocoons. http://frogpondphotography.blogspot.com/2007/10/mason-bees.html<br>I have my own ideas for Mason Bee houses and plan to start production this winter and will post the process. Cheers.
I'd like to reiterate what <strong>vlatro </strong>says.<br> <br> Althought a drilled block of wood/log is fun and simple, it winds up becoming a mason bee cemetary after a few years due to pest build up.<br> <br> For those who disagree, mark across each filled hole and see how many holes actually open up in the next season.<br> <br> What's much better is to be able to harvest the cocoons in the fall. (October).<br> <br> Our website, <a href="http://www.crownbees.com">www.crownbees.com</a>, has step by step instructions with pictures. Cedar has natural pesticide built into it... it's not a good thing to use.<br> <br> We also have extensive &quot;how to's&quot;, Question &amp; Answers, as well as science paper summaries that we feel are vital to commercial mason bee pollinators.<br> <br> Honey bees are vital to pollination.&nbsp; Native insects may become more necessary in the near future if the challenge continues.<br> <br> Dave<br> <br>
While mason bees will use homes like this one, they function as 'traps', according to some bee experts. Also, if leaf cutter bees take up residence you'll kill them if you clean the bee house out right after the mason bees emerge. To see some great information regarding mason bee housing, you can read through the website of <a href="http://sites.google.com/site/hutchingsbeeservice/home">Hutchings Bee Service</a>. They're very knowledgeable and their method allows for easier cleaning and you can even see the channels as they're formed.<br> <br> This will be our first year housing mason bees and my 10-year-old son is beside himself with excitement! :)<br> <br> I don't work for them, just to be clear :) &nbsp;I did a lot of research on mason bees and in all that I sorted through, their information was very clear and Gord Hutchings has contributed quite a bit to the discussion of bee housing on Gardenweb.<br> <br> <a href="http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/bees/msg0315524720712.html">Mason bee systems - different styles, good and bad</a>
This is a great design! I just bought a 5/16ths drill bit and have lots of wood rounds coming my way. One question about this Mason bee hut -- where do you install it? Is it hung from or placed on a tree, or set on a rock on the ground, or mounted on a pole? Thanks
thanks! We mounted it on a pole, south facing I think
Do the bees prefer a certain type of wood (for the main log with the holes in it) over others? &nbsp;I want to build a few of these for a property in upstate NY where we are planting some apple trees.<br /> <br /> Thank you<br /> <br /> PaleoDan<br />
I would think a hardwood would be best.&nbsp; If you want some weather resistance, try something like white oak (bur oak, etc - very weather resistant) or maybe walnut, cherry or apple.&nbsp; Even better would be hedge (aka osage orange) or locust..&nbsp; Farmers use locust for fenceposts, and it lasts roughly forever.
Not sure!!&nbsp;I&nbsp;think any dry wood should do the trick, these were cedar and they produced a lot more slivers than I would have liked, so I bet maple would be a lot nicer to work with!<br />
<p>If you're bent on waterproofing, you might be able to do so with paraffin or&nbsp;beeswax.&nbsp; Melt some and place the cut ends of the log in the liquid.&nbsp; Should wick it right up.</p>
I see you've gone for plywood for the roof. Given a bit of time in the outdoors pretty much anywhere that will start to delaminate.<br /> I've got some scrap ply that's been outside for a while and it looks terrible.<br /> Also, I know honeybees tend to avoid hives made from ply (something to do with the adhesives I believe) - whether or not this would mean masons would stay away I don't know but it might.<br /> <br /> I'd suggest using solid wood of some kind.<br /> <br /> I'll be making some of these to go on my allotment reasonably soon. Not quite 15 acres (it's just over 1100 square feet of land rented from the city to grow food - that's 0.025 acres) but I'm putting up some habitat/housing for bugs anyway.<br />
Questions:<br /> <br /> - How thick is the slice of the log?<br /> - Did you drill the holes all the way though?&nbsp; If not, how deep do you recommend?<br /> - Any recommendations of where to get the bee cocoons?<br /> <br /> Great idea.&nbsp; I have been looking at these ones made of bamboo and thought they seemed easy enough to make something suitable for less.<br />
Thank you for the video. I watched the entire series and was fascinated. I've been considering getting my own hive and this may have helped my decision. thank you again.<br />
&nbsp;Excellent build. I was considering a similar idea with a short length of gutter downpipe containing tubes of rolled-up paper, but yours looks so much nicer than mine would (in my head).<br /> <br /> Great stuff! :)<br />
&nbsp;Good idea. &nbsp;Let me know how they liked it.
&nbsp;Building the house is on the first step. &nbsp;Getting bees to use it is vital.<br /> In most parts of the norther hemisphere, mason bees of one variety or another are common, so there should be little need to buy the bees. &nbsp;However, there are&nbsp;certain&nbsp;species available for purchase online,&nbsp;through&nbsp;garden&nbsp;catalog, or a garden supply stores. &nbsp;You should select a type of bee suitable to the plants you want them to&nbsp;pollinate. &nbsp;The bees that work well for apple orchards often emerge too late to&nbsp;pollinate&nbsp;cherries, and go&nbsp;dormant&nbsp;before the can&nbsp;pollinate&nbsp;winter flowers. &nbsp;So wild bees from your area will typically be hardy and active earlier and last longer, but specific species may be better suited for your needs, so do some research with regard to which species are available in your area. &nbsp;<br /> <br /> Attracting bees to the nest requires a few other things. &nbsp;Make sure they have an ample supply of mud (for mason bees) and tender, non-oily leaves (leaf-cuter bees). &nbsp;They will also need food at times when your fruit trees are not flowering, so a variety of flowers blooming all season long (March-November) will make sure they don't wander off or starve. &nbsp;Honeysuckle&nbsp;and English&nbsp;lavender&nbsp;are a&nbsp;favorite&nbsp;for nearly all bees, hardy in most regions of the US, and keep their flowers for a long time. &nbsp;Putting these plants just beyond the nest will ensure they move in quickly.<br /> <br /> Never use pressure-treated wood when constructing a bee house, and avoid using copper-sulfate on trees, as it will kill the bee's larva.<br /> <br /> Cleaning the nests is also very important. &nbsp;There are a variety of mites and parasitic nematodes that prey on bee larva. &nbsp;After the female bees emerge (1-2 weeks after the first males come out), remove any&nbsp;debris&nbsp;from the holes and flush out with a light bleach solution. &nbsp;Hole liners make this easy. &nbsp;Just cut up a paper bag, and roll it in to tube that are just a bit longer than the hole, and insert them. &nbsp;At the end of the season, you can simply discard the empty liners and replace them,&nbsp;effectively&nbsp;discarding any parasites at the same time.<br /> <br /> Ideally, you want around 500 bees per acre for fruit orchards. &nbsp;1 hole 5-6&quot; deep will house about 5 bees, usually 3-4 males, and 1-2 females. &nbsp;One female bee will lay about 20 eggs per season, filling about 4 holes. &nbsp;So 100 - 200 holes per acre will be ideal, but you can always use more, the excess will wander off and colonize neighboring areas. &nbsp;<br /> <br /> Tip: If you have blonde or red hair, these bees will hover around your head for a while, you look like a big flower to them. &nbsp;Fragrant&nbsp;hair spray or conditioner will also attract them. &nbsp;They won't hurt you, but wear a hat to keep them from buzzing&nbsp;around&nbsp;your head. &nbsp;You learn to ignore it after a while, but it's unnerving to some people when a bee lands in you ear.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> @kNexFreek:<br /> Just an FYI, mason bees almost never sting. These nests won't attract honey bees or the Africanized hybrids. Don't be scared of something 1/10millionth of your size, I'm pretty sure you'll win in a fight with them. &nbsp;<br />
&nbsp;I HATE BEES. BEES SHOULD GO TO HE- L. Why would you do anything for a bee? Except for spray them with poison.
I'll put it in video form seeing as you clearly prefer not read&nbsp;: This is about the honey bee,&nbsp; but we have the same issue with Mason bees, and they are heavy pollinators, so we need them BAD!<object height="385" width="640"> <param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/ucCYAFXjduM&amp;hl=en_US&amp;fs=1&amp;color1=0xcc2550&amp;color2=0xe87a9f" /> <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /> <param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><embed allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" height="385" src="http://www.youtube.com/v/ucCYAFXjduM&amp;hl=en_US&amp;fs=1&amp;color1=0xcc2550&amp;color2=0xe87a9f" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="640" /></object><br /> <br /> <br /> :) <br />
Go build another gun!<br /> Bees are in serious trouble.&nbsp; Great post, thanks.<br />
this is neat!<br /> glad someone cares about bees around here:p<br />

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