• Crown Bees is a good website to look at for more info. They’re not local to you, so won’t give the best Minnesota-based advice, but they won’t ship you non-native bees, and the website has lots of information and pictures of ways to prevent buildup of pests. I got my mason bees from there, and I can also vouch for their great customer service, which seems more service-oriented than sales-oriented.

    February 24, 2012
    • Meleah

      Hi Michelle,
      Thank you! I just took a look at Crown Bees and they have a lot of helpful information, as well as excerpts from writings about the problem of shipping non-native bees. I think I will get some mason bees this year once I read up on them a bit more. I appreciate your thoughts.

      February 24, 2012
    • Tim

      When do you release your mason bees in MN?

      March 25, 2012
      • Meleah

        Good question. Mason bees are typically orchard pollinators. They need to be released when they’ll have a food source available, so it’s best to wait until some plants are in bloom, which is usually late April or early May in Minnesota. Raising mason bees successfully is not difficult, but there are some important things to understand. I would recommend reading the “What to Do” section of the Crown Bees website: http://www.crownbees.com/category/what-to-do/getting-started.

        March 27, 2012
  • Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you penning this
    post and also the rest of the site is extremely good.

    March 03, 2014
  • Lynn

    I just received a Mason Bee house as a gift…do I need to buy mason bees or can I just hang the house and hope mason bees will search it out?

    April 24, 2014
    • Meleah

      Hi Lynn,
      I used to think that you had to order mason bees but I went to a talk by Marla Spivak, a bee researcher at the University of Minnesota, and she said that if you put up the bee house, they will find it. So I’d go that route. – m

      April 28, 2014
  • The mason bees will find your nest box so there’s no need to buy bees. I think that the importation of bees from here to there increases the spread of viral diseases and pests. The honey bee pest, the varroa mite, got a strong foothold in the USA from because of transport bees being moved from crop to crop coast to coast.

    Another super helpful thing with mason bees is to that a bit of your time to clean the actual coccoons. When buying or making a nest, get one that has paper tubes so these can be opened and the coccoons removed. The junk can be shifted out. Then (check U-Tube for great info & videos) the coccoons can be shifted with sand. The abrasion of the sand removes the nasty mites. Then the clean coccoons will be healthy and hatch with no mite infestation. I hope this info is helpful 🙂

    May 29, 2014
    • Meleah

      Hi Barbara,
      Thank you so much for your helpful note. I went to a talk on bees recently and learned that, as you say, if you put up a mason bee box, mason bees will come. So you don’t need to buy them. I really appreciate these cleaning tips, too. – Meleah

      June 07, 2014
  • Rynn

    Thanks for all the help! I am in Saint Paul and was just gifted with a mason bee hose and tubes. I am looking to install it ASAP. Will I need to insulate it in any way if we get more of our Polar Vortex routines as we did last year? If so what would you suggest?

    August 21, 2014
  • wesley elder

    I have read somewhere that you shouldn’t just drill holes
    in say 2×4 lumber for you mason bee nest. the reason being that they will get dirty and infested with mites, but why couldn’t you discard the nesting blocks when they are vacant and put new ones in their place. This would certainly be the cheapest alternative for me.

    February 06, 2015
  • Mark

    Do Mason Bees make honey?

    February 08, 2015
  • Renee

    I bought a mason house and put it up hoping the bees would find it. Instead I have black wasp /hornets nesting in it. :/. Not what I was hoping for….. Is there a way to discourage the wasps from using it? Does it mean I don’t have mason bees locally around?

    February 15, 2015
  • We have a couple of points after reading through these comments. Meleah, thanks for writing this article. You bring out great topics. Not all companies think this through and just sells bees for money.

    While Marla Spivac makes a valid point, she is missing a major component to mason bees. Mason bees need three things: pollen, holes, and good clayey mud. If you are missing one element, the bees won’t be there. Would you expect to find mason bees in a sandy environment? Neither would we. Not all mason bees use mud, just the early spring bees. some of the other 130 species will use leaf bits, resin, chewed up leaves, cotton from plants, etc. Not all bees use the same size hole… some are small bees wanting to use 1/8″ holes while others will nest in holes up to 5/16″.

    Thus, “build it and they will come” isn’t always helpful. Beneficial wasps are gentle and will stuff their pests from your yard into the holes. that’s a good thing for pest removal!

    If you want spring mason bees, you’ll need a supply of bees acclimated to your area and a source of clayey mud. We have it available for you if you feel your soil isn’t right. Do NOT underestimate this requirement.

    Chemicals are also an issue… chem lawn or now called “true green” stinks to the bees and they’ll fly off. if your neighbor sprays, it will impact your bees as well. They will fly elsewhere.

    Don’t buy bamboo shoots or drilled blocks of wood. If you can’t harvest your cocoons (open the holes) your bees will die off due to pests overrunning the holes.

    If you’d like to learn more, see our website and do sign up for Bee-Mail, our monthly newsletter on how best to raise mason and leafcutter bees. It’s free and designed for your success.

    Why do we care? We want to exchange your excess mason bees for free tubes/reeds. Inevitably, the bees of your backyard are used in nearby orchards for the farmer to gain more food. It’s a cool business plan and works.

    Dave Hunter, Owner.

    December 13, 2015
  • This was really helpful. I got a bee house for mason bees mistakenly thinking some might just move in. So far there are none, so I am looking into buying native ones to the Seattle area. Will check out Crown Bees now. Thanks for the post!

    April 04, 2016
  • Kate johnson

    We bought a nest box about eight years ago. And then another. And then some more. Never bought a bee, but now have probably 8-10 full neat boxes, and are working with a local researcher who is interested in them. So get a box, put it in a good location, and see what happens before you buy bees

    August 24, 2016
  • Wonderful and decent post, I found this much helpful, I appreciate the efforts you people put in to share blogs on ordering mason bees such kind of topics, it was really helpful. Keep Posting!

    December 19, 2016
  • steve bennett

    I put up two mason bee houses last year. No mason bees yet. There is clay nearby, but may not be right kind of clay.

    Do I order bees or just wait?

    January 12, 2017
  • Cathy Elliott

    We just got a bee house. We’re in central Illinois and its the middle of June . Is it too late to put it up this year?

    June 19, 2017
  • I have ten passion vines and supporting frames. I need bees to help pollinate. In addition, I have many fruit trees and beautiful poppies.
    How best to start getting bees to stay.

    June 27, 2017

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