|My Christmas present, a Mason bee house.|
So back to the mason bees. We have quite a few of them around here. They worked the flowers and tree blossoms as hard as they could last year. Including the dandelions - when I was picking them for wine last year I got stung! They don't make honey but they do pollinate. I am out to make sure I have as many of them as possible. So, besides the nest I got for Christmas we are going to make some nests. We will start with a big block of firewood and drill holes in it. Evidently the 5/16 in. drill bit gives the perfect size hole, and if it is at least 4-8 in. deep, you will have more female bees than male. It is the female bees that do a lot of the work pollinating, and of course laying more eggs. From my reading it sounds like they don't go further than 100-300 ft. away from their nesting spot. A couple in the orchard and a couple next to the garden is my goal. A spot of wet clay mud helps them cap their pollen and eggs. The results of all this won't be seen until the garden of 2012. Google mason bees, and then put a nest near your garden.....you might be giving mason bee nests for Christmas gifts before long :-).