Mason Bees

Northwest Natives 

Local-Hardworking-Non Stinging-Native Bees 

Keeping native mason bees is easy, just place a nest box and add some pollinator friendly plants near the nest. Mason bees are one of natures most efficient pollinators. Support a mason bee family and plant some wild flowers in your yard. pollinator gardens can be outfitted with a mason bee box to naturally add more pollinator resources to Bellingham's environment. 

Of the 4,000 bee species native to North America, mason bees are among the easiest to raise, while also being gentle and amazing pollinators. Mason bees nest in pre-made holes and hole-nesting bees represent about 25% of the world’s bee species. We can increase mason bee populations by raising them in our backyards and gardens, which is a great way to supplement the stressed honeybee, sustain our future food supply, and provide nesting sites for other native bees, too.

The blue orchard mason bee (Osmia lignaria) is a very productive pollinator for spring flowering fruit and nut trees and spring berry plants. A female mason bee carries pollen mainly on the underside of her hairy abdomen and scrapes the pollen off within her nesting hole. She carries the pollen dry on her belly and it falls off easily as she moves among flowers. Mason bees are generalists that love to visit a variety of flowers.

Dry, loose pollen carried on the large surface of the mason bee’s belly results in significantly more pollinated flowers. Honeybees, on the other hand, wet the pollen and stick it to their hind legs to transport to the hive. Mason bees are an awesome cross-pollinator because they busily flit back and forth between branches and trees, instead of focusing on stripping pollen and nectar from one location.