This was a really interesting article and how-to. Not only did I learn something new about bees, but it actually may solve a real problem for me; we have a rooftop garden and have had a hard time with growing certain plants that require pollination like squash, for instance. Last year we had to actually use "manual stimulation" (ick!) and it still didn't work. I don't want a beehive because of both the danger (wife and kid highly sensitive) and the upkeep of honey bees. So these Mason bees sound like the perfect solution.
Just yesterday I read that a way those of us with ordinary lawns can help sustain bee populations is to allow dandelions to grow in our yards. Since I happen to love dandelions I've already been doing that, but, to my neighbors' chagrin, I'll be cultivating even more dandelions in my yard.
This mason bee house also sounds like a fun project and another way to help pollinators, and less upsetting to the neighbors.
Dandelion pollen provides an incomplete set of the amino acids bees need to produce brood. A diet heavy in dandelion pollen will actually keep the bees from producing offspring at all. There are far better ways to help bees than cultivating a lawn full of dandelions. Planting clover, for instance, in your lawn would be far more helpful for the bees.
That's kind of a bummer, but also good to know. What I read also mentioned clover, and I'm happy to have that in my lawn as well. I don't spend a lot of time cultivating the grass, but I do try to encourage diversity. There's nothing more unattractive to me than a patch of uniform sod.
They are adorable. I have almost an irrational love for bees.
Neat I didn't think that there was any more bees other than honey or bumble. guess you learn something new every day.
Maybe not as satisfying for the hard-core DIYers but making Flower Stem Bee Nests is easier.
Use shears and flower stems - that's all!
If you make a "bee house" of any kind you are responsible for keeping it clean.
I know someone who does this and one of the things they do is sanitize the bee house and wash the cocoons each year to reduce parasites problems for the mason bees. I gather that there are parasitic wasps that target them.
I'd be careful before getting involved with Mason bees. They're totally in cahoots with the Illuminati bees, and have plans to take over the world. Or at least the world of honey.
Yes but they build temples for you in your back yard.
Have you ever thought about keeping bees?
My dad took a short log, drilled a bunch of holes in it, and attached that to the underside of the eave just outside a living room window. He sits there with his tea in the morning watching all of the critters of the yard, including the bees, coming and going. It's neat.
There are also Toynbees.
Maybe one day...I love him. Hilarious.
We have solitary mining bees. Lots of them. I have never heard of them stinging anyone, although they do seem to have the equipment for it. I drive the tractor through clouds of them, and they don't even try to sting the tractor, much less me.
Mason bees are great pollinators. But only in the spring.
Note: Your wife and child are highly sensitive to... what? Chances are extremely slim that they are in danger. Note, folks... swelling from a wasp, bee, or ant sting does not mean you are in danger. That is normal.
I would lay down money that your wife is not systemically allergic to honey bee stings. Approximately 20% of the population claims they are dangerously allergic to honey bee stings. Only about .4% are, and many of those are still over-diagnosed. You can be labeled by an allergist "allergic to stinging insects" yet not be in any danger (it's kinda like saying you are allergic to poison ivy -- most all of us react, sometimes significantly -- but we are not in danger). Additionally, even if you are dangerously allergic to one stinging insect, you are unlikely to be allergic to all stinging insects. I.e., just like you may have an allergy to cats, that doesn't mean you are allergic to all furry mammals.
The vast majority of people carrying around epipens in fear of stinging insects are doing it needlessly. Allergists over-diagnose this particular sensitivity. Ignorance has us mis-diagnosing a swollen arm and calling that "OMG! DANGEROUS". Nope... that's normal.
Sorry... #petpeeve. Great article!
As someone who has been hospitalized a couple of times due to life-threatening reactions to honeybee stings, and who lost a family friend due to the fact that he was stung by a bee and died of anaphylactic shock within minutes right in front of his kids, my #petpeeve is random strangers who offer their unsolicited opinion that people who carry epipens are being needlessly alarmist.