I’ve been conspicuously missing from the blog for awhile. I haven’t been feeling like writing stuff for everyone to read for the most part and never want my blog to feel like a chore, so I haven’t made myself write.
I feel renewal in my desire to write since the warm weather is upon us and so much of our PNW culture is about the outdoors. I’ve got my container garden planted and been catching up on a podcast I simply love. It’s called the Living Homegrown Podcast. This is where I get a lot of my ideas, and it’s where I heard about raising mason bees.
Mason bees are a solitary bee unlike the honey bee which lives in a hive. Mason bees live in holes. They are gentle and not known for stinging unless they’re being squeezed. They pollinate at a much higher rate than honey bees. They do not make honey. They live in holes. They are lower maintenance to raise than honey bees.
I ordered my bees and a little bee hut with tubes. I received my little box of bee larvae today and roped my husband into drilling holes to hang the bee hut AND help me open the little box of bee larvae to put them in the bee hut (in the darkness of night after I got home from work- thank you!!!) The instructions say some of the bees may have emerged and that’s okay, and let me tell you, THEY DID. Eek! I know they’re gentle but they’re still insects and still bees. They are cute as a button for bees, but eek! They were crawling out! We corralled them into the back of the bee hut with a spatula and hung up the bee house in the pitch black while watching for raccoons and whatever else was out there. No photos yet since it’s the middle of the night, but I’ll update later!
**Update, here’s the bee hut.
I am really excited for my kids and I (and maybe it will grow on my husband) to watch these bees make our yard their home. I can’t wait to see them pollinating our veggies, berries and flowers. They use mud to plug the tubes after they lay eggs, so there’s got to be mud available. Then they will use the little bee hut to keep their larvae which we will harvest and keep until next spring.
This summer we’ll get a shipment of summer leaf cutter bees after the mason bees are done. Leaf cutter bees use tiny bits of leaves to plug the tubes of the bee house after laying eggs. They are fantastic pollinators like the mason bee and share their gentle nature. They’re also solitary bees and don’t produce honey. They do very little if any damage to your garden plants despite their name and in return they’ll give you more food.
I will try to update the blog about our bees and with any tips we learn along the way.
In the meantime, check out the Living Homegrown podcast. Here’s the episode about mason bees.
The podcast mentions Crown Bees which is where I bought my bee hut and bees. Their website has a wealth of information and awesome videos my kids (okay me too!) find very interesting.
Let me know in the comments if you have experience raising bees of any kind and if you’ve got tips for me!