|Cedar shake cottage – and ideal location for mason bees|
|A collection of mason bee nests on the east facing side of
a cedar shake cottage. Odd shapes, colours and layout of nests
helps the bee in finding its own nesting tunnel.
I initially thought some freaky weather pattern made the area cooler and not very attractive to bees. But the 5th year’s explosive growth countered that argument. If production continues to be good, than food and other weather related conditions must be ok for mason bees.
My theory now is that during the first few years, there were so many available nesting holes in amongst the cedar shakes and the density of bees so low, only a few nested in the mason bee houses that I had set out. As the years passed, the cedar shake nesting holes filled up and mason bees began to use the mason bee houses in earnest.
If this is true, then natural nesting holes will be used first since these are more attractive then most man-made nests. After a few years mason bees will start using mason bee houses.
Note: All man-made nests and cocoons were cleaned every fall. Wooden structures were cleaned and scrubbed. Cocoons were washed free of mites, and later candled to identify and destroy any parasitized cocoons.