Making a mason bee house

andalusn

Songster
10 Years
Sep 6, 2009
919
46
191
Ridgefield, WA
Has anyone made Mason Bee houses out of tin cans for the paper tubes? The store said you could use cans that food came in but my tomato sauce can is just a tad too short. I think I'll look funny measuring cans at the market
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to get the right fit with a little overhang. If all else fails my hubby is going to make me a wooden box. Any tips for building or attracting these bees? I have some but wanted to do more than give them a home in the few holes they find in my barn.
 

thepremo1

Songster
9 Years
Feb 17, 2010
114
1
109
mid michigan
i just started working for a beekeeper, and i dont know anything about that, but bee boxes are real easy to make(for the most part)
if you look on youtube you could probably find something
 

Lesa

Songster
11 Years
May 28, 2008
839
6
139
Upstate NY
I don't see why a can wouldn't work- I've seen wooden boxes, etc. The important part if the tubes (straws)- I don't think what they are inside is too important. Waiting until it gets a little warmer to hang mine up. Good luck!!
 

sgtmom52

Birds & Bees
12 Years
Jun 1, 2007
5,805
250
328
Northern York County ~ Pennsylvania
During a visit to Japan last year we saw these Mason Bee houses. They use Mason Bees instead of Honey Bees to pollinate the apple orchards.
The main thing is the "straws" or "holes" need to be a certain size. They use hollow bamboo or blocks of woods with holes drilled in them in Japan. A good source of mud nearby is also important for the Mason Bees.

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andalusn

Songster
10 Years
Sep 6, 2009
919
46
191
Ridgefield, WA
I did attend a Mason Bee class hosted by our local Backyard Bird Store yesterday evening. A local woman has spent the past 12 years studying the bee population on her property in Washougal, WA. Very well presented and her recent book on the subject was full of information and pictures. The take away for me was how to balance having fruit trees for the pollen needed and then other blooming plants I could add to my own yard to support the bee until the liffe cycle is complete. A very plesant way to spend an hour and learn quite a lot. I am going to do two types of houses, PVC pipe for the tubes w/liners and also a wooden box for the same type straws. It will be interesting to see if the bees prefer my alternate housing to the uprights of my barn
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www.mountainbugs.com
 

andalusn

Songster
10 Years
Sep 6, 2009
919
46
191
Ridgefield, WA
Quote:
I did a quick search and found a bee guild in Santa Clara, CA. They are called native bees, orchard bees and Mason bees. I guess the latter name came from a guy in France who wrote some of the first literature about them long ago. The trick is having the right source of plants they can pollenate. Here its plum, apple, pear, dandelions, azela bushes. Try calling the local master gardener program in your area or contact a store that sells birdseed and bird houses. Here we have the backyard birdstore that sells all upscale yard items to decorate or attract birds for feeding. They also sell bat houses and Mason bee supply. Another source just might be to drop an email to the lady that hosts the website I posted.
 

andalusn

Songster
10 Years
Sep 6, 2009
919
46
191
Ridgefield, WA
Today is craft day.. it's taken us a little time to gather the stuff and do a little more research. When I attended the talk about Mason Bees (Orchard bees) I did not have a firm plan but figured the more home made the bee box the better for my husbands piece of mind and wallet
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My simple projects always seem to be a little over the top.

I purchased the tubes with liners for a multi year plan. At the store I picked up a mounting bracket for 2 inch PVC pipe thinking we "must" have left overs in the barn... Nope we didn't. Yesterday was a quick stop at Home Depot and picked up a nice scrap for a few dollars and two end caps for .25 each to block off the back end. That should be enough to make two houses to hold the tubes. Now this morning I find in my recycle cans that a used large chili can is the perfect depth for the tubes.. Now I can make another for next year.

With some research I found that for necter to mix with the pollen (to make bee bread) they really like Peris shrubs. I stopped at the local nursery and picked out two that are stillr petty tight in the buds .. only probelm.... my chickens found them this morning at the front of the barn
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won't leave them alone. New project.. some sort of cage to protect the shrubs. I have a tube of cacoons in the fridge all ready to go when we hang the houses later day. I plan on taking pictures to document the project and hopefully show bee activity in the few months to come.
 
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