How Mason Bees Pollinate Gardens
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Mason bees are some of the best pollinators to have around the garden. These are solitary pollinators and they are tunnel nesters, which means they don’t have stingers. They can pollinate many flowers, including early blooming spring trees. They can also help to reduce the effects of diseases, parasites, and mites.
Early-blooming spring trees
If you are looking to attract pollinators to your yard, you should look into Mason bees. These insects are an excellent source of early blooming pollination for your plants. They are a part of the Megachilidae family. There are about 300 species of these bees throughout North America.
Mason bees are native to the Americas. The genus is named mason because they use mud to build their nests. Unlike other bees, mason bees do not live in a hive. Instead, they live in solitary. This means that they are not cooperative like honey bees, but they are also not aggressive.
Mason bees need moist, clayey mud to build their nest. Typically, they nest in a hollow stem or reed. When the weather is suitable, mason bees emerge from their cocoons around mid-spring.
As the name suggests, mason bees are also a good source of pollination for flowers and fruit trees. In fact, the pollination rate of mason bees is as high as 95%.
Mason bees are known to visit over 1,800 flowers a day, which makes them an efficient pollinator for small spaces. You can get them to pollinate your garden by placing planters with early-blooming shrubs.
It’s also important to provide mason bees with a clean, dry habitat. A birdbath near the nesting box is a good place to provide water.
Once a female mason bee has laid eggs, they build a mud chamber where they deposit pollen and nectar. These chambers are a great source of nourishment for the larvae. To encourage mason bees to come back year after year, ensure that your nesting materials are fresh and clean.
Mason bees have a life expectancy of two to six weeks, depending on the species. During this time, female mason bees are able to lay a cell or two a day. However, the lifespan of the male is only about two weeks.
You can help the mason bees by providing a warm, cool, dry, and humid place to live. For example, you can purchase mason bee cocoons to place in a cool basement or garage.
Tunnel-nesting solitary pollinators
Solitary tunnel-nesting bees are easy to raise and require very little maintenance. Their presence can help increase the health of your flowers. Whether you’re growing your own food or just wanting to help your local ecosystem, raising these native bees can be a fun and inexpensive experience.
Many species of mason bees are native to North America. Some can be found in gardens, while others are found in orchards. They are known for their ability to pollinate trees and shrubs during the spring flowering season. The lifespan of a mason bee is four to six weeks.
These bees come in many different colors and sizes. They also vary in their basic black color. There are several different types of solitary bees, and each one has its own unique characteristics.
Tunnel-nesting bees are mostly native to North America. These bees make use of pre-existing tunnels. Some are found in natural hollow cavities in trees, while others are built by wood-boring beetles. A few of these bees are semi-social, which means they share a common entrance to their nest.
Solitary tunnel-nesting bees do not produce honey. However, they do spread disease and mites through their nesting tunnels. It’s important to ensure that mason bees have ample foraging habitat and that you avoid using pesticides. If you do use chemicals, be sure to wash the nesting area with a weak bleach-water solution.
Mason Bees lay eggs in their tunnels. They use mud and clay to seal the openings of their nests. In addition, they build a wall around the entrance of their tunnel.
Besides laying their eggs in these tunnels, mason bees also forage for pollen and nectar. They collect their pollen on their hind legs. During the early spring, they visit hundreds of blossoms to collect pollen.
While mason bees can be found in most areas of North America, they are not common in far north regions. They are also commonly found in orchards, where they can form aggregations. Several varieties of mason bees are available in stores.
To attract mason bees to your garden, place your nesting tubes within 200 to 300 feet of pollen-rich plants. You can buy special wooden blocks to create a tunnel nest.
Diseases, parasites, and mites
Mason bees are a beneficial addition to your garden. They’re a great pollinator and do not require much work compared to honey bees. However, it’s important to be aware of diseases, parasites, and mites that may harm them.
There are many different mason bee species. In the United States, two common species are the western orchard mason bee (Osmia lignaria propinqua) and the eastern orchard mason bee (Osmia fusca). Both species have been ranked as “secure” by the NatureServe Conservation Ranking System.
Although mason bees aren’t endangered, it’s a good idea to know what pests can threaten them. Pests include sapygid wasps, cleptoparasitic beetles, and pollen mites. Keeping these in check will help manage the mason bee population.
During the spring, the adult mason bees are active. The females gather nectar and pollen from early-blooming plants. For this reason, it’s important to plant a variety of plants within 300 feet of the mason bee nests.
In addition to the pests mentioned above, mason bees can be threatened by climate change. Many pollinators are threatened by habitat loss and other environmental conditions. To keep mason bees in your yard, avoid spraying pesticides. You should also use native plants instead of non-native double-blossom flowers.
Another threat to mason bees is the occurrence of a disease called European foulbrood. It occurs in the spring and summer. This disease is bacterial and multiplies in the gut of the larva. If it’s severe, it will reduce the numbers of adult workers.
Aside from bacterial brood diseases, mason bees are vulnerable to parasites. Parasitic mites feed on the larval stages of the bee. Some parasitic mites, such as the varroa mite, are believed to cause bees to reduce in size.
Beetles and cleptoparasitic beetles can also cause mason bees to become infected with various pathogens. Cleptoparasitic beetles, for example, can kill the larvae of mason bees. Similarly, bee wolf and the Houdini fly can kill both males and females of mason bees.
Other parasitic beetles that affect mason bees are the blister beetle and the carpet beetle. The cocoons of the blister beetle look like brown pods. These are often wrapped in grass.
Mason bees don’t have stingers
The Mason Bee is a native pollinator in North America. It’s an efficient, non-aggressive, and effective pollinator. They are also very friendly and don’t require a lot of attention to be successful. These beneficial insects can be a fun addition to your garden.
While they don’t make honey, they do collect pollen. If you want to attract mason bees to your yard, consider installing a mason bee house. This provides a shelter for the bees and other pollinators in your garden. There are also starter kits that can help you get started.
When mason bees emerge in spring, they search for nectar and pollen. Once they find a source of food, they return to their nest and lay eggs. They then continue collecting pollen for up to six weeks.
In the wild, mason bees live in mud tunnels. Usually, they build a chamber filled with nectar and pollen, and then lay the eggs. However, they can also nest in man-made tunnels.
The mason bee is not as aggressive as other bees, and they do not sting. They’re not even poisonous. They’ll only sting if you squeeze them, so they’re a great insect to have around your garden.
Mason bees are gregarious and will happily nest next to other bees. They won’t damage your plants, but will visit more than 1,800 flowers each day to gather pollen.
A female mason bee will lay up to 34 to 36 eggs during her short life. After her eggs hatch, they’ll spin a cocoon and store the pollen and nectar in it. They’ll then eat the stored food for 10 days.
Mason bees are a wonderful way to increase pollination of your garden. They’re especially beneficial for fruit trees, since they won’t sting. And they’ll only travel about 300 feet away from their nests.
These native pollinators are easy to keep happy. Just make sure they have water. You can also provide them with some food and a shelter.
Some sources say mason bees have a 99% pollination rate. That’s more than enough to make your flowers and herb plants burst into color.