Most people are not familiar with the mason bee. It is one of the best pollinators and, like honeybees, has significant benefits for the environment.
Mason bees are solitary tunnel-nesting, peaceful and co-exist well with humans. With their high pollination ability, they are useful in gardens and can help increase production.
With the distinct blue/black color, mason bees are attractive and add an aesthetic value to your garden. Although they do not provide honey or wax, mason bees are widely kept due to their benefits in the production of fruits and nuts.
Below are some of the best mason bee houses that you can buy and rear some in your garden.
The 7 Best Mason Bee Houses
1. GH Fulfillment Mason Bee House
This mason bee house is suitable for beginners looking to attract friendly mason bees in their garden.
- Hollow elderberry tubes
- High-quality construction
- Eco-friendly design
The mason house is one of the best on the market and has proven to work well.
It features cracks and crevices within the pine cones and hollow tubes to attract mason bees.
The house is made from locally-sourced elderberry wood, which is friendly to the environment. This particular wood is resistant to mildew and mold, which ensures a favorable environment for the mason bees.
You will love the handmade design of this mason house. It is functional and has proven to attract and keep mason bees.
2. JCs Mason Bee House
This pine mason bee house is an ideal choice, thanks to the quality of materials.
- 16 removable pine panels
- Locking block
- Sturdy, recycled construction
- Attractive pine smell
- Comes with an info sheet
The best thing about this mason bee house is the quality of wood. It features 16 removable routed charred pine panels.
The pinewood has a smell that attracts mason bees to build the nest. More to this, the house features sturdy, recycled poly-lumber construction to last long and withstand use in the outdoors.
It comes in single and double bee house designs that you can choose. With the info sheet included, you can easily install the house and attract mason bees.
3. Rivajam Mason Bee House
One of the features you should look for in a mason bee house is the quality of the material. The best mason bee house should be sturdy to withstand the elements and hold up well in the outdoors.
- High-quality pine wood
- Two mounting hooks
- Replaceable nesting tube
- Full roof design
The mason bee house will not only attract mason bees but also add aesthetic value to your garden. It comes in high-quality natural pine wood to last long. More to this, it features replaceable nesting tubes that maximize male to female larvae.
With the full roof design, this house lasts long in the outdoors. Additionally, it prevents rain from reaching the nesting tubes to ensure a favorable environment for the bees.
4. KIBAGA Mason Bee House
If you are looking to improve your garden aesthetics, getting a mason bee house is a great option. It will attract mason bees that are beneficial for pollination in plants.
- Natural bamboo construction
- Hanging design
- 60 nesting tubes
The mason bee house comes in an attractive design that will spice up your garden. The design is simple and features a hanging rope that you can use to mount the house on a tree. The natural bamboo material is long-lasting and withstands use in the outdoors.
With the 60 tubes, this house will attract many mason bees that will ultimately benefit your garden. The tubes are loose and might come out, but placing the house against a wall will solve the problem.
5. Niteangel Wooden Insect House
With this house, you can provide a safe and favorable environment for mason bees to lay and hatch their eggs.
- Dry, high-quality wood
- Multiple tube designs
- Bamboo cones
- Full roof
The house is not only suitable for mason bees but other insects as well. It features bamboo cones that provide a convenient place for mason bees.
Additionally, it has different tube designs that suit insects. It not only creates a lovely home for insects but also uplifts the look of your garden.
Note, however, that this house is super small and might not hold many mason bees.
6. Homestead essentials Mason Bee House
This bamboo mason bee house works well for small gardens.
- Flame-treated bamboo
- Simple to mount
- Unique design
The house features perforations as well as bamboo tubes useful for mason bees. It is an excellent addition to your garden and provides a safe environment for mason bees.
You can easily mount it by hammering a nail on a tree or a supporting wood stand.
The house works well, but the tubes can be challenging to replace since they are glued at the back. The good thing is that the tubes are of high quality and might not need replacement.
7. Evergreen Bee House
This small mason bee house is ideal for mounting on a wall near your backyard.
- High-quality construction
- Small size
- Easy to mount
It comes in a cottage design and features a full roof to protect the interior against the elements. It also has multiple tubes that mason bees can inhabit, lay eggs, and hatch.
The quality of this mason bee house is outstanding and suits small gardens. It needs regular maintenance to ensure it stays in the best condition for the bees.
Tips for Using a Mason Bee House
Before you buy your first mason bee house, it is essential to understand how to use one. Mason bee houses come in many different types varying from size, material, and style.
The most popular design is the cottage, which utilizes wood. The tear-drop style is also common and uses bamboo.
Here are some points to note:
- Mason bees make their nests close to each other. Therefore, consider the size that works well for your needs.
- The size of the mason bee house determines the number of mason bees you will have over time.
- You can always start a new nest once the first house if full. This, however, will depend on the space you have and your overall gardening needs.
- If you intend to keep mason bees on a large scale, then you need several nests to cover the vast land.
After purchasing the mason bee house, you have two options to start. You can either buy a starter population or wait for the mason bees to discover the house. Starting with the cocoon requires you to place them in the house and wait for them to hatch. The population will then grow from the starter population and colonize the nest.
It is important to note that mason bee populations do not grow as fast as those of honeybees. One mason bee covers a large area; hence a single house is adequate for a large garden.
Mason Bee House Maintenance
Keeping the mason bee house should be a priority. Usually, maintenance is ideal during the cold months in fall and winter. During this time, the mason bees in the tubes are hibernating. At this time, you can easily remove and open the tubes to look for parasitic wasps and mites.
Here are steps you can follow to maintain your bee house in the best conditions.
- Remove the nesting tubes and unroll them gently to reveal individual cocoons.
- Collect all the cocoons on a paper towel.
- Create a water bath using a 10% bleach solution and place the cocoons.
- Shake the water bath to reach all the cocoons.
- Transfer all the cocoons on a dry paper towel to dry them off.
- Place these in the refrigerator in a closed container with a wet paper towel. Moisture is essential to prevent the bees from dying before they hatch.
How to Make a Mason Bee House with Straws
You can make a mason bee house at home using readily available materials.
You will need:
- A coffee can/ any can about 6 to 8 inches long
- Paper straws
- Start with cleaning the can and ensure it does not have any smell. You can use a coffee can and dry it in the sun to eliminate the smell.
- Cut the bottom and create a triangle opening. You can use a can opener or knife for this.
- Create nesting tubes using paper. Parchment paper is an excellent choice as it does not mold as plastic would.
- Measure the paper to 6 to 8 inches long to create a suitable nesting tube.
- Roll the paper and place them inside the can.
- Arrange the tubes nicely and make enough to fill the can. However, squeezing them too much will obstruct the tube inside.
- Hang your DIY mason bee house near a tree, flower garden, or shrub.
- Make sure the house is 3 feet or more above the ground and in the sun.
When to Install a Mason Bee House
Timing is a critical factor in mason beekeeping. The best time to install the mason bee house is in spring, especially if you have refrigerated cocoons. If you are a beginner, you should have the mason bee house ready before spring. You should also have the cocoons ready.
As spring approaches and flowers start to bloom, place the cocoons in the mason bee house you are using. If you have refrigerated ones, you do not need to thaw them as the sun outside will warm them up.
The sun is an essential resource to mason bees and affects the entire life cycle. Bees, including mason bees, are ectothermic and depend on the environment to heat their bodies. Spring has favorable conditions for this, including hatching and development of mason bees.
Where to Hang Mason Bee House
The specific place you hang your mason bee house will determine how the population of mason bee grows. Mason bee houses should be placed off the ground, ideally, 6-7 feet above the ground.
Also, you should protect the house from the elements. Most people place the house under an eave of their garages, houses, or shed. If you do not have an eave, it is advisable to buy a mason house with its roof. It will prevent water from entering the house.
Ensure the house reaches a significant amount of sunshine and warmth. You should place the house facing the morning sun direction to warm up the house and get the bees active. As the day progresses, the shadow will keep the house cool, ready for the return of the bees.
Some designs of mason houses have overhangs making it easy to place them on a fence post or a tree. If you have squirrels and other small animals in your garden, you can protect the house with chicken wire. This design will prevent the animals from pulling the tubes and destroying the nest.
When looking for a favorable spot to hang your mason bee house, consider an area near plants. Mason bees adapt to different types of trees and plants, so you do not need specific species. Lastly, ensure the back of the house is on a flat surface to cover the other side of the tubes.
Mason bees are beneficial for pollinating plants and flowers. Unlike honeybees, they are friendly and harmless to human beings.
The above best mason bee houses can help you attract and keep them in your garden.
Additionally, the tips on when and where to place the houses can be a great starting point; hopefully, you get to start your mason beekeeping adventure.