Bob D. from West Virginia started his mason bee project using reeds and placing the bee house with the reeds on a post. A post is usually a drafty location. and this means bees are cold and not able to fly and pollinated flowers. Throughout the year whenever he was in the yard, he found many of the reeds scattered across the ground. Repeatedly he picked them up and placed them back into the house. These were likely squirrels or birds. A predator guard would stop this from happening.
In October he opened each reed by splitting them. Most of the reeds were empty. Some looked like they had something inside but when opened were empty or mite filled. A few of the reeds were plugged with grass, with cocoons and some had white catapillers. He stopped his examination, because he thought it was too early to open nests. Mason bees are fully developed by September, but other insects may not be completely developed into adults. The harvested 10 “brown capsule like cocoons that came with clay separators” will give him a good start for this spring. The 20 more fragile looking capsules that were surrounded by grass could be one of a wide variety of insects.