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Hi there I recently just joined this forum not sure if its only for honey bees or also mason bees and I have no idea if I'm posting in the right thread or not. I plan on starting to raise mason bees. I have made a house for them and prepared 5/16 inch diameter and 5 1/2 inch long tubes for them. I plan on hanging the house right on the south facing wall above my garden. I used to grow vegetables but I have alliums and milkweed in there now. I have no idea how to attract the bees besides planning on planting a lot of flowers when spring rolls around and providing clay like mud. Our front yard has a lot of flowers and theres a huge honey suckle vine that spreads all across and over the fence. I'm just a little worried the bees won't visit or stay in the house I made. any tips would be welcomed thank you.
 

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Do a search of Beesource forum with these words leaf cutter and mason bees select, search entire forum. You will get some leading info from those 400 or so posts.
 

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If you fail to attract them there are places that sell mason bees. One of the seed companies we have used in the past just sent me a suspiciously targeted ad a few days ago. A bit pricey for my taste...

Last spring a coworker said he had honey bees in a chair on his porch. Stopped by on the way home expecting wasps but found mason bees. He is going to let me place a few bundles of tubes to hopefully relocate a bunch to our place. Guessing he has a neighbor who had been encouraging them and possibly moved or quit suddenly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
thank you guys a lot I searched mason bees on here and have been reading all about them. I was just concerned whether I would have to buy the cocoons or there was possibly a way to attract ones if I had them nearby. ill probably debate on that for a while.
 

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Check out Rusty Burlew's website www.honeybeesuite.com. She has a lot of information about raising mason bees and building houses for them. I bought a box of the heavy paper straws she recommends but have not gotten around to actually building a house yet. If you do not already have mason bees in your immediate vicinity, you may need to buy some cocoons to get the process started. They come back to their birth location to lay eggs for the next cycle. Sorta like salmon.
 

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Andrew:

Welcome to the forum- glad to see you got some good advice, and I for one appreciate your interest in 'alternative' pollinators.

I think we tend to underappreciate the contribution that our native pollinators make, likely because they tend to be so unobtrusive. Hopefully you have a local mason bee population you can help support, and if not you can always bring some in as a fall-back option.

Best of success to you, and again welcome to Beesource.

Russ
 

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For some situations, depending on how early you need pollination etc., they can be much more efficient than honeybees. Honeybees have the habit of not working close to home and will often not bother with your own garden. The leafcutters and mason bees work an area of only a few hundred feet. You may have to buy some cocoons to get started if you want their services the first year, but if you provide suitable cavities and constantly wet clay puddles of the right consistency, they will come and you could put up a good number of cocoons for the following year.
They have their own set of required conditions and have some diseases to contend with but they could certainly provide an interesting hobby. I only scratched the surface of knowledge about them when I was preparing a bit of a presentation on bees for the local horticultural association. They could entertain a person for a much, much smaller budget than honey bees!
 

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Check out Rusty Burlew's website www.honeybeesuite.com.
Holy guano Batman, 35 pages! Have read two so far:rolleyes: First I read was about bamboo tubes. Interesting as earlier today was cutting up some bamboo 'tops' to give my coworker who wants the mason bees gone from his porch chairs.

Second was the six myths article. Adamant about never buying bees that are shipped long distance. Diseases, parasites etc... Coworker is only 4 or 5 miles away as the crow, er, BEE flies so I should be be OK. Though probably came from a neighbor who originally bought them from a thousand miles away.

Also learned they can sting. Pussy cats compared to honey bees according to Rusty.
 
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