As you can see in this short video clip, our Bee-N-Bee is filled with activity at our rural home in Camas, Washington. The occupants are Mason Bees, a wonderful hardworking, and gentle (non-stinging), pollinator. We work in the vegetable and flower gardens together in perfect harmony.
Although, unlike the honey bee, Mason bees do not produce honey. They make up for it though. These desirable bees pollinate approximately 1000 blooms a day. For reference, honey bees pollinate about 500 blooms day. Talk about productive!
In 2016, the UN released a sobering statistic. Nearly 40% of insect pollinators are in danger of becoming extinct. Native bees rely on us to help provide the proper habitat for them to not only survive - but thrive. Raising Mason bees is a good option for those of us who are a bit timid about hosting honey bees.
We are happy to share our organic gardens with them. There are no harmful chemicals of any kind used here Our fertilizer and soils are even organic, we rely on the magic of compost and compost tea. No miracle potion, or magic potion - we tend to shun even the organic options.
Chemicals are chemicals. Plus, we don't support any company that negatively impacts the environment - sadly, that's the case for some of the most popular fertilizers, so-called organic and non-organic, on the market. Another topic for another day - we get fired up over this stuff.
Back to the friendly Mason bee. What a joy it is to see them flying in and out of their Bee-N-Bee house. They have been been active now for several weeks. The males only fly for a short three weeks, and the females for about seven-eight weeks. Even though we stop seeing them, their average life span is one year.
Mason bee season is over when the tubes in the bee house are capped over with mud. This usually happens in the early summer. After that, another type of friendly bee, the Leafcutter bee takes over. That also is another post for another day. In the meantime, go forth and bee!