Saturday, May 14, 2011
Mason bee nest, Roscoe
The lack of a vibrant honey bee population causes problems in vegetable gardens here. One solution is to try to attract native pollinators. One of these is the Mason bee. These are vigorous pollinators, but they need nesting places. These nests are sold by a great place called Gardener's Supply in Vermont. They are tubes of bamboo in a bamboo sheath.
The female lays a female egg in the back of the tube and cements it over (thus the moniker mason bee). Then she lays another, and cements again. She can get 5 or 6 in a tube. The last cavity has a male egg in it. The male hatches in due time and waits. As each female emerges, they mate. And then it starts again. I had two of these last year and they were 3/4 full by Fall. Now I have 4 nests near my garden and I have way more fruit sets than a year ago.