After our trip through Saskatchewan, the idea of a workable yurt for mason bees began. I was fascinated by the roof opening and how it apeared to work nicely with alfalfa leaf cutter bees. Since leafcutter bees and mason bees are in the same family a yurt like structure might just work for mason bees.
I had one experience with leafcutter bees that did not work very well at all. But I did learn from the experience.
I built a U-shaped structure using regular poly on the surrounds. The roof was made of solid wood. The open part of the ”Ú’ acted as an open door. Bees emerged and started nesting. After a couple of days, I was back and to my dismay, the leaf cutter bees were getting caught between two layers of plastic stapled to the wooden uprights. The stapling kept the plastic on the structure, but if a bee became disoriented, she would fly agains the poly and then over time end up between the overlaid plastic walls. Many were caught. I removed a lot of them by cutting the plastic, but this let the wind in and ….basically this structure did not work at all.
The yurt cover is made from one piece sewn together to form a snug fit. If a bee does get disoriented in a yurt, she ends up flying out through the roof, and back into the yurt via the door. A great solution for disoriented bees.