A story about keeping Mason bees- by Pat Mc.
“Just wanted to drop a line to say how much my wife and I have enjoyed having mason bees these past 10 years (or more), I really can’t remember how long ago we got them. We received them from Dr. Margriet Dogterom at an information session she held in Maple Ridge. We started with the drilled blocks and then began rolling our own tubes from newspaper. This was how we assisted our “girls” until three years ago when we discovered the cardboard tubes. These worked much better, however the squirrels found the tubes delicious and easy to remove from our blocks. I fouled their nefarious plans two years ago when I placed our blocks in an old outdoor fireplace I had. I just cleaned it out and put the blocks inside it and closed the metal mesh door. The metal “bee palace” was then placed in a prominent sunny location and everything seemed to work great.
Our two blueberry bushes are always packed solid, and the pear tree is also often overburdened with fruit.
We were very excited to purchase our new “Bee House” this year and when we found out the design was courtesy of Dr. Dogterom we were certain we had found the ideal product. We raced home with it, looking forward to putting the girls into their new digs.
Much to our disappointment we just discovered when we got home that tragically our tubes that were removed from the blocks got wet last night in the downpour. The wind must have blown the rain into the container. I fear most of the brood are probably dead. I salvaged 4 tubes that were completely untouched and dry, then went to the nursery and bought two more tubes.
I’m certain with the new corn/plastic blocks and the ability to readily remove the cocoons with little risk of damage, next year we will be back up to a large colony. The new blocks will also mean I can keep things much cleaner, so the girls will be healthier.
Saw a big bumblebee yesterday. They always make me smile.”