Mason Bees

allotment shed

Mason bees were attracted to our bee box at the allotment last May, it was fascinating watching them building nests within the hollow tubes. Mason bees are non-aggressive solitary bees, they are very small and do not sting unless really threatened (a sting is not usually painful and only females are capable). They do not swarm, bother people or produce honey, but they are prolific pollinators. Named because of their habit of making compartments of mud in their nests, which are made in hollow reeds or holes in wood. Mason bees will also use handmade or purpose-built bee boxes to nest, hollowed out bamboo canes or tubes will attract them, drilled holes in wood blocks will attract them too.

mason bee

Nest building begins in spring, it’s a good idea to have a bee box in place beforehand if you’re thinking of providing a nesting site to attract them to your garden or allotment. Site bee boxes in a position that receives early morning sun, on a tree, post, wall or shed for example. Have a go at making your own Mason bee box or purchase a ready-made box suited to Mason bees. I particularly like these examples http://myfriendlygarden.co.uk/product-category/for-bees/

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17 comments

  1. Hi Spadeforkspoon,

    I put my box on the allotment shed, just under the eaves. I have Scabiosa ‘Butterfly Blue’ (flowers during a mild winter if dead-headed regularly) and blackcurrant bushes near the shed, providing an early source of food – which Mason bees appreciate. They prefer a box sited in a sunny situation, especially early morning sun. A source of damp mud will help too. Good luck!

  2. some great photos of your bees home and the bees using them. We have made some to go on our shed at home and they have been used every year for 10 years now. I look forward to seeing them hatch out and then start filling them up again. I grow a comfrey patch close by and they make straight away.

  3. A great post, I’m a big fan of bees, and it’s good to learn a little more about mason bees. I need to sort out something at the allotment.

  4. I live on 3 acres of bush in the perth hills Western Australia. I’m lucky I have 2 wild bee hives, they nest in 40 foot gum trees. They pollinate both my veggie patch and my cottage garden. I have a fish pond so they have constant water, I encourage everyone to do as much as possible to bring these hard workers into yr garden

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