Mason Bee House - Mounted Spring 2018
One of my Sisters gifted me this "Swiss Alps Bee House" for my birthday this year and with the weather turning, I decided to mount it outside on the edge of our 6' fence line. This photo was taken in the morning, so you can see that it gets morning sun. I've been seeing these bee houses the past few years at garden centers and have been intrigued by them, but always wondered what they attracted. Turns out, it is Mason bees. Mason bees don't sting (well, the males don't at least) and are good for the garden.
I put this on the northside of our backyard, down near where our dry well is located. That area is the lowest point in our yard and is often wet/damp (by design), so there will be a plentiful supply of mud for the Mason bees to use to plug the holes. Morning sun + fixed spot + mud supply = hopefully a good spot?
From Gardeners Supply:
Mason bees (genus Osmia) are a type of native bee that’s quite common throughout most of the U.S. They are usually a little smaller than a honeybee, and typically metallic blue or blue-black in color. They get their name from their habit of nest-building, which is to seal off the cells where they lay their eggs, with a mortar-like application of mud.
There are about 140 species of mason bees in North America. All are solitary bees. The males do not have a stinger, and the females will only sting if trapped or squeezed. This makes them an ideal neighbor for the home garden, since they pose little to no threat of stinging.
...Mason bees are very effective pollinators. Just two or three females can pollinate a mature apple tree! Mason bees will also work in cool or rainy weather when honeybees are more likely to take the day off.