Mason Bees are native bees that find holes in nature to lay their eggs inside. They protect the eggs by packing the holes with mud. To learn more about mason bees, visit my article about them.
Because mason bees are native, they're probably already in your backyard. The trick is providing a home for them, so you can help grow their population. To learn how to build a mason bee house from just mugs and straws, visit my tutorial. If you prefer to make a mason bee house from wood, visit this tutorial.
Once you've placed your mason bee house outside, it's a waiting game. Sometimes, they'll find the house within a few hours; sometimes, within a couple years. Whatever you do, don't order mason bees online! Doing so can mess with your natural ecosystem. Instead, follow these quick tips to increase your odds:
1. Make a Mason Bee Mud Pie
Mason bees need mud to protect their eggs. They like to settle in areas where they know they'll be able to get mud easily. Help them out by making a mud pie. All you have to do is fill a flower pot saucer with mud, and water it frequently to keep it moist.
Note: Don't place your mud pie directly below your mason bee house. When mason bees first crawl out of their home, they're very clumsy. They might fall into the mud pie and not be strong enough to fly out.
2. Provide a Water Source
Just like people, mason bees need water to live. Make it easy for them by making a bee watering hole. All you have to do is fill a non-porous flower pot saucer with pebbles and water. Be sure not to fill the water too high; the idea is that the pebbles are a safe landing zone for the bees while they drink. Fill the watering hole as it evaporates.
3. Plant their Favorite Flowers
While mason bees love all kinds of flowers, there are certain kinds that attract them the most. Here's a quick plant checklist:
- Simple (Fewer petal rows = easier to pollinate.)
There you have it! After following these tips and tricks, your garden will officially be mason bee ready.