Mason bees are a native bee found throughout most of the U.S., and are very effective pollinators. They are metallic blue or blue-black, and a little smaller than the honeybee. Mason bees pose minimal threat for stinging, as the males do not have a stinger, and the females only sting if trapped.
Mason bees are not able to excavate their own nesting cavities, so they lay eggs in whatever they can find. They like to lay their eggs in small cavities such as woodpecker holes, hollow stems, and artificial nesting cavities like cardboard tubes and paper straws.
A female mason bee forages for pollen and nectar from fruit trees, flowers and vegetables. She packs the nectar into the far end of a nesting cavity until there’s enough to feed a young bee. Then the female lays a single egg and seals up the cell. She continues this process down the tube until she has filled the entire chamber with eggs, then moves to the next tube. The larvae hatch a few days after the eggs are laid and begin eating the food the mother bee collected for them. They pupate in the cell and remain there over winter. The bees emerge when the weather warms in the spring.
Mason bee homes are [Read more…]