What’s the difference between Honey Bees and Mason Bees? I have been focusing on planting edibles in my yard and think I should have honey bees since they actually produce something I can use – honey. Why would I want to add Mason Bees anyway?
Answer: Oh, my…. quacks Grandmother Hettie (yes, Hettie is now a wise old grey-feathered Duck), “Mason Bees are a wonderful addition to any garden!”
First of all, here is a little basic info about Mason Bees. They are solitary bees that don’t form colonies or honey, like many other bee species. These bees get their name from their use of mud in building their nest compartments, similar to how a stone mason constructs a house.
Keeping Mason Bees in urban spaces is easy and inexpensive. An added bonus is that these bees can do wonders for your fruit plants and gardens!
All you need to do to get started is get a Mason Bee nest. You can either purchase one or if you have some extra time you can build one yourself. Once you build it you can let nature take its course and wait for the bees to come, or if you want to speed up the process you can purchase some bees from a local nursery- or even online.
Just two or three female Mason Bees are enough to pollinate a whole apple tree! They are also able to work in cooler temperatures, whereas Honey Bees are more likely to take the day off.
“Remember,” says Hettie, “In Lazy-Lady Living we are always balancing the 3 Permaculture Ethics of Earth-Care, People-Care and Fair Share”. Not only will Mason Bees increase your garden harvest, they will increase the harvest of your whole neighborhood which is good for your community of people, but also for your little corner of earth.”
Overall keeping Mason Bees is a very easy process, that can greatly help your garden. They are great pollinators and inexpensive to upkeep, plus another bonus is that they usually don’t sting!