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Peter B. from Ankara, Turkey emailed me the following question:
“Your fascinating website was sent to me by Chris K. I have looked at it plus several others. I am a beginner, but would like to try raising some mason bees as a hobby.
I am from Vancouver, but living most of the last 10 years in Ankara, Turkey. I would like to try manufacturing a house for mason bees here in Ankara. A few quick questions for you:
1. Ankara is a big city (5,000,000) and at almost 1000 m elevation. We are some distance away from the downtown, there are some large city parks near us, but we are still in the city. Do you think there are any mason bees that we could attract here in Ankara?
2. I understand that the species is different for the mason bees here. For the house, is 8 mm diameter OK, or do they require a larger or small diameter hole? Is there anything else that would be much different from the North American mason bees in terms of housing or rearing requirements?
Thanks in advance, Regards, Peter B.”
Yes, the species found in Turkey are different to the ones found on the North American continent, although their lifecycles would be similar to the ones found in NA. If the early spring mason bee exist in Turkey, it would be Osmia cornuta. The 7.5 mm or 8mm would be a good hole diameter to use for your nests.
If you are interested in seeing what solitary bee species exist in the area, make 2 or 3 different nest diameters. Local gardens with flowering plants would provide bees with pollen and nectar for themselves and their offspring. The nesting hole diameter I would recommend are: 3mm 5mm and 7.5mm. This gives you a good range of nesting tunnel sizes. Make nests by routering flat pieces of wood. These pieces are stacked and allow nests to be opened up in the fall. This makes it all the more interesting than just seeing the plug at the end of the nesting tunnel. Good luck, and let us know what you find.