Mason Bee Care Update!

Tips from Mark Fitzimons

Once Mason Bee tubes and blocks are filled and capped with mud, it’s time to bag and relocate them for protection from the parasitic mono wasps and predators.

Reusable trays and blocks:
Wait until all female mason bees are done nesting, usually 6-8 weeks after you released your cocoons. The timing could be longer or shorter based on weather patterns.

Loose nesting holes:
For cardboard tubes, cardboard tubes and Inserts, or natural reeds, you may remove individual filled nesting holes as soon as they are capped with mud. The best time to remove individual tubes and reeds is after dusk when the bees are done flying for the day. You can add additional nesting holes if the bees are still nesting. Removing nesting holes at night can help nesting bees reorient in the morning.

Protect your filled nesting trays and tubes by placing them with the mud-capped end facing up inside of a fine mesh BeeGuard Bag. Place loose tubes into a clean empty jar or can to keep them sturdy. Storing with the mud end up keeps the egg on top of its pollen loaf. Cinch the top of the bag closed.

Store the filled nesting materials in an unheated and un-airconditioned garage or shed. The mason bee larvae need the warmth of the summer to develop and you want to follow nature’s temperatures as closely as you can. It’s a good idea to check on the nesting materials every so often. If you see tiny parasitic flies or wasps crawling up to the top of the bag, kill them to prevent another cycle of parasitism.

Removing and protecting filled mason bee nesting holes will also keep the bees safe from birds and ants. If rodents are an issue, place filled nesting materials into a plastic container.