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When I started  producing mason bees, I set the mason bee houses onto a barn and shed of a blueberry farm.  This was easy.  But the farmer also wanted mason bees in his blueberry field to make sure the mason bees were pollinating his blueberry flowers far from his home and barn.  But there are usually no buildings out in these commercial fields for setting out mason bee houses.
Mason bee cocoons and their nests require a few basic essentials.  They need to stay dry and during the day need to be warm- in other words, a dry spot, in the sun and preferably out of cooling winds.
I came up with using Garbage pails, set up on its side.  Theywere secured to a post and with a few other pieces of  lath, secured to the post because some of these places can be quite windy.  It worked rather well.  The set up time though was long because no field had the same type of post. 
Tim setting up a “Mason Bee house”.

Cardboard tubes were used at the time and bundles of these were set in the back of the container.  To help the bees orient to their nesting tunnel, cotton batten and “1″ foam was interspersed amongst the layers of nesting tubes.

The middle of the container was used the most by the bees.  On some days, under sunny conditions, it became very hot in the upper section of the container.  It looked like bees were avoiding the excessively hot area of tubes.  To ”cool it down a little, I cut a small hole in the upper part of the “roof” of the container.

There usually is a lip to a garbage container so that the lid can be fastened to the garbage pail.  Unfortunately, when the container was on its side, rain pooled in the rim drowning many bees.  I cut a drainage hole so that water would not pool in the rim.

The container was set up about 4 feet above the ground to avoid the splash zone and also to avoid the cooler ground temperatures.

When we started using routered nesting trays, these stacks did not fit very easily into the round container.

We learned a lot from this trial. 

The yurt was still a few years away!

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