Everything you need to know about solitary bees and their abodes.

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Pansies and Million Bells
A: Native Pollen Bees are also called Solitary Pollen Bees or Wild Bees. Mason Bees are one type of Solitary Pollen Bee. They do not live in colonies with a Queen or worker bees and they do not produce honey. They do the bulk of the pollination in our gardens, parks & forests. They are also responsible for helping pollinate the crops, fruit and vegetables we eat- 1 in every 3 mouthfuls of food we eat required pollination to grow! Native Pollen Bees work more efficiently than Honey Bees at pollinating flowers. They don't travel far, and so focus their pollination efforts on fewer plants. They fly quickly, visiting more plants in a shorter amount of time. Both males and females pollinate flowers, and Native Bees begin earlier in the spring than Honey Bees.
Echinaecea and Bumblebee
A: The native bee population used to be able to flourish finding their own relatively safe homes. This is no longer the case. Increased disease, losses due to predators and most importantly, loss of habitat due to human encroachment have all combined to take an alarming toll on these gentle pollinators. Solitary and native bees (including mason bees) now need our help to stabilize and rebuild their population. Natural nesting sites and simple man-made wooden houses do not provide the same level of protection our Mason/Pollen Bee Nests do. A nesting place scientifically designed to be safer means more bees survive.
Shasta Daisy and Native Bee
A: There are many species of Pollen Bee. Some are Bee Flies; some are extremely small. One noticeable difference is that Solitary Pollen Bees are usually covered in short hairs to which the pollen adheres. Wasps and hornets do not have these hairs.
A: You should provide a range of plants (native & garden) that will offer a succession of flowers through the whole growing season. Check the USDA-Recommended plant list included with your nest and choose plants suitable for your growing region. Plant in clumps of one species rather than scattered around the garden. Herbs and perennials also provide good foraging.
Water for Natives Bees
A: Place some soil and a shallow bowl of water with a stone in the middle near the nests. The bees will use these to make mud to plug up the nest tubes. Also, if you put mulch over the soil in your garden, leave some areas free of mulch as the bees need to be able to get to the soil to make mud.
A: They help prevent pests and parasites from raiding the nesting tubes, greatly increasing the Pollen Bees' chances of survival. The bees will manage to emerge from the tubes with the stickers in place or you can remove the stickers once the weather warms up.
A: No. Most hornets, wasps and yellow jackets live in colonies with a Queen and Workers so would not use the single nest tubes in our nest. Mud Dauber Wasps, although solitary, like to build their own nests of mud. You will also find that wasps will tend to avoid building their nests near our nests, as they are very territorial.
Mason Bee Nest
A: The nests can be placed in the garden at any time. Bees are active at different times of the year and the new generation will also emerge at different times. Two nests are usually adequate for most gardens, but there is no limit on how many you can use.
Mason Bee Nest
A: All the above love eating Bees and their larvae. However, our Solitary Mason Bee Nests' molded waterproof baffles do a very good job of helping to protect the nest tubes from attack by their predators.
A: The Solitary Bees that use our nests will not or cannot sting. They are non-aggressive and tend to fly away from confrontation. This makes the nests an ideal fun and educational medium for your children.
A: Use an Avery label or similar to cover the tubes. This will protect the tubes and allow the new generation of bees to easily emerge.
A: Over the years, debris and mites can build up in the nest tubes which could be harmful to the Pollen Bees. As Pollen Bees emerge at different times throughout the season, it can be hard to see which nest tubes are empty and which are in use, making cleaning difficult. The Emergence Chamber solves this problem by covering the nest and providing a small hole in the bottom which allows emerging bees to crawl out, but makes it unlikely they will find their way back in. This means that no new bees will nest in the tubes and they can be cleaned out as soon as all the bees have emerged. If you are using an Emergence Chamber, it is a good idea to have a fresh nest set up nearby so the emerging bees easily find a new home. >More information on Emergence Chambers.