Mason Bees, Awesome Pollinators!

Mason bees are a common bee you will see flying around your home in spring and summer. They are native, non-social bees. They neither sting nor make honey.

The mason bee is an important pollinator. This blue-black metallic bee nests in hollow stems, woodpecker holes, and insect holes found in trees or wood.

With some wood, a drill, and a few other materials, you can build a mason bee nest.


• Untreated wood block* (roughly 10 x 15 cm)
* Blocks can be made from wood of any shape. You can use a dead tree limb, a fence post, or a scrap of firewood. A block with a slanted end works well for the roof.

• Drill

• 5/16″ drill bit

• Shingle or light piece of wood larger than the wood block

• Finishing nails

• Hammer

• String or wire

• Scissors

• Safety glasses

1. Drill a hole in the block, starting at one corner of the block’s face. Either side of the block is okay. Drill until the hole is about one centimetre from the back of the block. Avoid drilling through the wood.

2. Continue drilling holes, about one centimetre (finger-width) apart until the block is covered with holes.

3. Use the finishing nails to attach the shingle (or wood piece) to the top of the block. (If your block is slanted at one end, attach the shingle to that end.) The roof should overhang the holes.

4. Hammer a finishing nail into each side of the block.

5. Cut a piece of string, about 45 centimetres long. Tie each end to a nail on either side of the bee house.

6. Attach the bee house to a fence, house, garage — anywhere in your garden close to flowers. The bees tend to visit flowers closer to home. Hang it from the string like a picture or loop it around a fence post. Make sure the bee house faces east and is at least one metre from the ground.

The mason bee will nest in holes drilled in the wood block. The roof protects the bees from midday Sun and rain. Bees are stimulated by the morning Sun, which is why it’s best to face the house in an eastern direction.

These bees need mud to construct cell partitions, so adding a mud supply may be helpful if needed. This can be a trench or tub located nearby where muddy soil is maintained during the nesting period. The mud should not be highly organic or sandy. Clay soils work well.

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