How to Build a Mason Bee House

How to Build a Mason Bee House

By Erin Huffstetler | 04/10/2013 | 1 Comment
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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:

Cut the Slope for the Roof

Cut the top of the 4×4 post at a 45 degree angle to allow rainwater to run off.

Drill the Nesting Holes

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.)

Attach the Roof and Back

Attach the roof and back mounting plate.

Hang Your Mason Bee House

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.

More Garden Projects:

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  1. Hi Erin!! I saw your mason bee houses and they look great! I had a question. I am a teacher and my students designed a 3-D printed mason bee house. They made 16 holes for the bees and a sliding out back door to be able clean out the tunnels. We just wanted an expert opinion on our idea.

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