Bring on the bees! We just built and installed our first mason bee house. Now, I’m anxiously awaiting our first tenants. Why am I going out of my way to attract mason bees to my yard, you ask? Because they …
- successfully pollinate 95% of the flowers that they visit; honey bees only have a 5% success rate
- visit twice as many flowers in a day as honey bees
- aren’t aggressive. Only the females can sting, and they’ll only sting you, if you hurt them first
- don’t do any damage. They build their nests in existing holes, so I won’t have to worry about them boring holes all over the place
- emerge in early spring. Just in time to pollinate my apricot, apple and cherry trees
How to Make a Mason Bee House
What You’ll Need:
- (1) 12-inch long 4″ x 4″ post (avoid pressure-treated wood)
- (1) 1″ x 6″ x 6″ board (for the roof)
- (1) 1″ x 6″ x 15″ board (for the back mounting plate)
- (12) small nails (1-1/2 inch)
- Electric drill and 5/16-inch bit
- Measuring tape
What You Do:
Step 1: Cut the top of the 4×4 post at a 45 degree angle to allow rainwater to run off.
Step 2: Then, draw intersecting lines every 7/8 inch, and use a 5/16″ drill bit to make a 3-inch deep hole everywhere the lines meet up. (Be careful not to drill completely through the block.)
Step 3: Attach the roof and back mounting plate.
Step 4: Mount the mason bee house three to five feet off the ground, facing east or south-east. You’ll know you have bees when you find the holes covered over with mud.
Mason Bee Tips:
- Mason bees need mud to cover their nesting holes; ensure there’s a source nearby
- Once you have mason bees, do not move the house until winter
- Keep your bees healthy by avoiding the use of pesticides
- Provide food for your mason bees by making sure you have something blooming in your yard at all times
If you’d prefer to buy a mason bee house instead of building one, I have them listed in my shop.
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