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Don reports he has had mason bees over the past 20 years. He has both the brown cornifrons and black lignaria that live in healthy coexistence in the same boxes year after year. “Some years the browns produced more. Some years the blacks prospered better. Seems they offset each others unique vulnerabilities to our fluctuating environment. I never saw browns and blacks mate or show any interest in or aversion to each other. They flew together. Whoever got to the tunnel first took ownership.
The “trapline” was set here in April 2015 included the 15 nesting boxes of about 50 holes each, positioned strategically along muddy creek and native wildflowers over the one mile trace of this flood plane. The 2014 brood I planted did not thrive and have very little action in our 2015 trapline.”
Don asked if I had a theory on why mason bees did not multiply in the two years he set out these nests in this natural area, since bumble bees seem to thrive in the area. Bees need food to thrive, and bumble bees thriving indicates that there is adequate food. My theory is that mason bees prefer natural nesting sites over man-made nests. I have seen this is in quite a few sites where it takes 3-4 years before mason bees begin using man-made nests. Margriet
More and more people and Architects(!) are getting interested in providing mason bee homes– read more by clicking on-
Although round nesting holes are preferred by mason bee, they will use all kinds of shapes and sizes of holes, including these routered holes. these nests are created by routering grooves in pieces of wood, which are stacked and thus creating the nesting holes. colored markers to help mason bees find their nest can easily be done on wood. some of the ‘unused’ nesting holes are actually used by the bees for their overnight stay. for this reason it is always best to have more nesting holes then the number of female mason bees that are released.