Mason Bees, Let the Pollinating Begin!

by Emily on March 28, 2012

It started as a Christmas present to Sid, when my Dad helped me construct a couple of Mason Bee houses and I bought a book with an IOU to buy bees when they came out in nurseries in February.  It has since turned into one of Pip’s most favorite things to talk about.  She’ll tell almost anyone that the “bees are sleeping” and that “they wake up when sun comes out to warm them up!”

Bee houses made by my Dad but drilling holes into wood-simple as that!

She’s right.  Pip and Sid went to buy their bees at Sky Nursery in early February and when she couldn’t believe that they weren’t awake we had to explain the process.  That little container holds the bees that are sleeping in their blankets or cocoon like structures.  Then we have to keep them cold until the sun warms up outside and the flowers start to bloom.  Ok…so why do they sleep in the crisper in the fridge?  Apparently, refrigerators are very dry so in order to protect the bees from drying out, you put them in the crisper.  Pip checked on the bees every-time she could squeeze through the doors to check on them.  Still sleeping…

There they are….bees in the canister

Until this past weekend, when the Pieris was in full bloom in the yard, we thought it would be time to set the stage for pollination to begin!

Pieris in bloom, one of three in our yard

In addition to the homemade bee house, Sid attended a Mason Bees class at a local nursery and purchased an official nesting home.  They suggested that you just tape the canister of bees to the house and when they wake, they will know that they should come back to this home.

We’ll hang the other bees houses nearby in hopes that we have so many bees working in our yard that they need another abode… who doesn’t need a cedar chalet to vacation in?

Have you brought mason bees into your yard?  Have any tips for us?  Pip is so excited about this adventure so I sure hope they wake up soon and weren’t dried out in the fridge (eekss)!

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