Our Orchard Mason Bees are hard-working hole-nesting bees that are native to Vancouver Island and western North America. Orchard Mason Bees are super cross-pollinators that help us grow more fruit and berries. Many of our customers tell us that they harvest much more fruit than before they raised Mason Bees.
Orchard Mason Bees are active in the cool and wet weather of spring when our apples, plums, cherries, blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries are blooming. Mason Bees are easy to raise – just set up your rental bee house and make sure they have flowers and moist clay soil nearby.
Hole-nesting bees are gentle because each female bee is a fertile queen that is too busy doing all the work to raise her own young. Mason Bees are fun to watch as they come and go and raising them is educational and kid-friendly.
Orchard Mason Bees need nesting habitat and the Mason Bees you raise will be shared with local farmers to help them grow more fruit and berries, too.
Why Mason Bees
Nature’s Powerful Pollinators
- One of the few bees that can fly in cool, wet spring weather
- Carry pollen dry on their furry bellies
- Easy to raise bee that nests inside of nesting blocks
- Very gentle bees that are fun to watch
- Generalist bees that love to visit all flowers
- Educational and kid-friendly
Do you struggle to grow apples, pears, plums, and cherries? Do your trees grow fruit that is small or misshapen? Poor pollination is a contributing cause.
The answer to growing more fruit is easy: raise Mason Bees. Fruit flowers need to be visited multiple times to make seeds and fruit. Most fruit trees bloom in the spring and there are not many kinds of bees that fly during spring’s wet and cool weather.
Mason Bees are busy pollinating right when your fruit trees and berry bushes bloom in the spring. Mason Bees are active in cooler and wetter weather than other bees and they only fly about 100m from their bee house every day. Set up their bee house near your fruit trees and they will pollinate where your orchard or garden needs it most.
One of our customers tell us that before raising Mason Bees their plum tree only grew about 8-10 plums per year. The first year using Mason Bees they harvested about 50 lbs (25kg) of plums. Raise Mason Bees and you will grow more fruit and berries!
Mason Bees are native to Vancouver Island and this makes them a more robust bee that is easier to raise because they are acclimated to our weather patterns. When you raise Mason Bees you are helping a native bee population thrive.
Mason Bees that are raised in our rental program are shared with local Vancouver Island farmers to increase local food production.
Raising Mason Bees is very easy, just set up their bee house and make sure lots of flowers and mud (for building nest walls) is nearby. Read more about how our rental program works here.
How to Rent Mason Bees
Raising Mason Bees with our rental program is easy! Just pick your kit size and your kit pick-up location (Vancouver Island only). Set up your bee house kit and watch the bees fly. When notified in June return your kit to one of our pick-up events..
Checklist for Mason Bees:
- Lots of spring-blooming flowers: pick our smaller kit if you have a small garden. Think about ways you can add more flowers.
- Mud: Mason Bees need moist clay based soil near their bee house for building protective walls inside the nesting block
- A good bee house location: plan to install your bee house on a south or southeast facing wall that gets morning sun. Morning sun gives the bees the warmth they need to fly earlier in the day.
- Order your Mason Bee rental kit.
- Select a kit pick-up location
- Pick-up your kit in the spring, beginning in March
- Set up your kit in your garden, yard, farm, or orchard. -Easy bee house installation with a keyhole slot in the back -You’ll get set up instructions with tips for bee house placement.
- Return your kit to the same pick-up location in the early summer, around June
- We tend to the bees over the summer, ensuring full development before winter hibernation at which time we harvest and clean the cocoons removing any parasites and also clean the nesting trays for use the following spring.