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 Mason bee photos 
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Joined: Sat Jun 14, 2008 9:45 pm
Posts: 98
Location: Camas, Washington
Post Mason bee photos
Just a few photos of my mason bees in action the last few days...

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Tue Apr 23, 2013 11:58 pm
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Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 10:57 am
Posts: 1354
Location: Portland, OR
Post Re: Mason bee photos
Great photos, Dave M!

What plants did you use for the tubes? I made some this year and realized that many stalks were filled with spongy material, and many others looked the right size until you opened them up and they were too small. I like the natural method, the dude from crown bees says they work best. (Makes sense).
John S
PDX OR


Thu Apr 25, 2013 7:53 pm
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Joined: Sat Jun 14, 2008 9:45 pm
Posts: 98
Location: Camas, Washington
Post Re: Mason bee photos
Hi John,

I prefer to use teasel stems, which is what you see in the photos. Teasel is an introduced plant which grows all over this area. I also use bamboo if I run out of teasel.

If you like to clean your cocoons, teasel is a lot easier to open vs. bamboo. I just drive a wood chisel through the joint lengthwise, give it a twist, and it usually splits the entire length. The same method works for bamboo, but it requires a lot more force to split, and when it finally goes you sometimes send your cocoons flying.

I was watching the bees this evening, there was lot of activity, probably 40+ bees coming and going, and one couple was even mating. The male is much smaller than the female.

They have filled about half the tubes in the two pots just in the last 3 days. So I cut some more bamboo last night. I also bought some tubes to see how they like those. I don't need that many bees, but since I seem to have lots here I figure I might as well share them. I sent about 300 tubes to the guy at Crown Bees last winter.

I need to figure out a better way to bundle them though. The joint at the back of the tube is wider than the rest of the tube, so when you bundle them together it makes a sort of cone shape instead of a cylinder. It is really hard to keep a cone tied together. Last night I tried tying some strings across the bottom of the "cone" to pull the "bands" down, which worked OK. I think I need to make some kind of box which is sort of a cone shape.


Thu Apr 25, 2013 9:42 pm
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Joined: Sat Jun 14, 2008 9:45 pm
Posts: 98
Location: Camas, Washington
Post Re: Mason bee photos
I found one of their mud-gathering spots...

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Sun Apr 28, 2013 11:31 pm
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Joined: Sat Jun 14, 2008 9:45 pm
Posts: 98
Location: Camas, Washington
Post Re: Mason bee photos
I mentioned that I had bought some cardboard tubes (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Mason-Bee-Nest- ... 0921219110). I will definitely never use those again, for the following reasons:

1. They are very difficult to open.
2. 99% of the bees had been killed by parasitic wasps (monodontomerus). The wasps had no trouble at all piercing the cardboard.

I don't think I have lost any bees to mono wasps when using teasel stems.

I guess the mono wasps become active around June 1, and you are supposed to protect your tubes from them by putting them in a fine mesh cloth bag or something. I have a few of the cardboard tubes left, I'll definitely do that this year.


Fri Mar 14, 2014 8:57 pm
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Joined: Sat Jun 14, 2008 9:45 pm
Posts: 98
Location: Camas, Washington
Post Re: Mason bee photos
Saw my first mason bees today, doing what bees do this time of year...

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Sat Mar 15, 2014 4:03 pm
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