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Discussion Starter #1
I'm getting pretty confused, I keep finding sites that differ in stating the foraging range of the blue mason bee:
http://www.google.com/#num=20&hl=en...l=&oq=mason+bee+300+yards&fp=173c88006b48283c

Is it 100 ft, 300 ft, 100 yards, 300 yards? -I see sites stating all these and more, and obviously there is a vast difference between 100 feet and 300 yards. :scratch:
I'd kind of like to know because there is a nice stream with some mud access about 100 yards from my garden, and if they will go there then I won't need to worry quite as much about keeping fresh water and mud provided at all times.

Thanks for any advice!
 

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Omie,
I think 100 feet is far enough for the mud. Remember she has a limited life span and you don't want her to spend too much time flying for mud. You can figure this out for your situation by putting up 2 blocks; 1 where you originally wanted it and another half way to the water source. There will be times that the bees will find mud without going to the stream, so 100 yards may only be the back up source for them.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Dave for your reply. :)
Unfortunately, our property is very small and that stream, and the house & property between the stream and us does not belong to us, so I can't do your experiment.
I'm thinking I'm going to have to construct a mud source for them.
But does anyone know the actual range limit of the mason bees from their nests? I mean, 100 feet is pretty different from 300 yards, and I keep reading people stating both (plus everything in between) as the foraging range limit of mason bees.
 

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But does anyone know the actual range limit of the mason bees from their nests? I mean said:
Omie,
I'm sorry I was not more specific. The maximum forage range is 300 feet. What I'm saying is 100 feet is far enough for the female to have to travel one way to her mud source. If you put a block up with the nearest mud 300 feet away, don't be surprised if she moves to where the mud is. I hope that answers your question better.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yes it does....thanks! :)

300 feet radius from the nests- that's an amazingly small foraging range! :eek: Mason bees sure have tiny 'worlds' they live in!
Good that I have various flowers and veggies and that there are several small flowering trees in the backyards surrounding me, including my own 2 crab apple trees which bloom at slightly different times. I'm planting several dozen blueberry and raspberry bushes this Spring as well, so that will further increase available sources for bees.
 

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Re: Mud holes

The best reference that I have found so far on mud source set-up construction is at pollinatorparadise here.
Most usefully they have published some photos which give an idea of how to build the system.
Elsewhere I read that ideally it should not be topsoil - perhaps as this can be too sandy. I know that my bees prefer to dig into clay patches and a pond I was digging became their open cast mine - for those interested here's a very short little video of solitary bees excavating mud.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you for the very useful links- they are very helpful to me as a first time solitary bee 'landlord'. :)
 

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Female blue orchard bees will collect pollen and mud at very short distances when these resources are readily available. This is why they have become such valuable pollinators of orchard crops, where thousands of blossoms are concentrated within a small area. However, the female bees will fly up to a quarter of a mile or more when necessary. These bees are strong flyers and can cover a lot of ground in a hurry. They fly so quickly that it is difficult to visually follow the female bees for more than a few seconds when they leave the nesting shelter to collect pollen or mud.

So the distance they will travel really depends upon the proximaty of acceptable flowers and a mud source. If both are close then you have an ideal situation . If not they will readily fly out to more distant sources.

Dale
 

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Discussion Starter #9
However, the female bees will fly up to a quarter of a mile or more when necessary....
So the distance they will travel really depends upon the proximaty of acceptable flowers and a mud source. If both are close then you have an ideal situation . If not they will readily fly out to more distant sources.
Thank you Dale, that is very reassuring! We have a nice stream less than 100 yards from us.
I thought we had no mud nearby (mostly topsoil that won't harden when dry), but I saw a good source that I can gather up in a big pan and make a little mud trough from that I can keep moist for them. :)
 
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