We built this little shelter for our balcony and installed a mason-bee release box, and two containers of paper tubes that Yumi patiently rolled using bee-whisperer Joe Sadowski’s exact instructions as to proper sizing. He provided us with several dozen tubes, and a dowel to fashion our own.
Little bee station I made from scrap lumber saved in our garage. Nothing fancy, just a bit of shelter from rain. I had some old paint from painting a bedroom over ten years ago, and by chance it matches our siding :-).
Joe’s bee-release box at upper left — fashioned from a small plant container. A wooden box I made at center, and a pop-bottle tube holder Joe made on the right.
And within hours of taking cocoons out of their over-winter storage in the fridge, we’ve got action!
Yumi rolled over a hundred tubes in one evening!
Mason bees do not provide honey, but they are super pollinators, and are very docile and people-friendly.
I’d like to thank the City of Burnaby Parks Dept. for getting us started with mason bees a few years ago with their “adopt a mason bee condo” program in which volunteers were trained to monitor and maintain boxes supplied by the City and installed in municipal parks and schoolyards.
A few mason bee resources:
Suzuki Foundation How to Harvest Mason Bee Cocoons
West Coast Seeds A Year in Mason Bee Keeping
Bee Diverse — If you’re not handy and want to buy all your supplies this is a good source. Many garden shops also carry mason bee gear.