I had the opportunity to put a home at another property. I am curious if I will attract wild mason bees there. Using some of my boards that did not come out so well I built housing for the boards. They should still be good enough for some bees to use, maybe not every hole but many of them are still in good shape. I see no reason to throw away bee boards that are not perfect. Just give them to other people where bees may or may not live.
I added some screw eyes so it could be hung up by string. But we decided to place it high up on a box by the garage. Its about 10' off the ground, so if they do indeed visit the home they should not be bothering the resident living there.
This is not the first time I have deployed mason bee homes at someone elses property. When I drove to Alabama to visit @makinstuff I gave him some trays to put up. Though I should have given him them with housing included. Just using the boards is kind of hard to work with unless you just set them up on a flat surface. So by building homes that can be hung up they will work on most trees and other non flat places.
As I prepared the area for the mason bee homes I saw an old tree stump with mushrooms growing from it. I placed the home there and tried to get a picture by them. Though it will not stay on the ground as many animals will be messing with it. When they can smell the larva inside they may try to break in. So placing them up and away from many animals should help.
Many of these boards do not fit perfectly together, these boards are some of the first I did. And I learned along the way how to do them better. But I think the mason bees will still use most of them. They are not too picky, the question is will wild mason bees find these homes? It worked where I live, but this location is many miles from where I live so its hard to say. Id think so.. but you never know.
In about a month, the mason bees should be active. Around the same time I will be getting my honey bees. Though the mason bees will be faster to start pollenating than my honey bees. As the hive has to be built up for the honey bees. The solitary bees have no such responsibility. Just to make homes and every female is their own queen so they can be quite distributed in their work.
A bunch of junk wood was used to build these homes. I went through my garage and found cut offs of left over lumber, had enough to build a few homes. They are mostly built using small pieces of 2x4s and rips of them.
The top tray will not be used, I just did not have any single sided trays to use, so I left a double sided tray at the top. I guess it kind of looks interesting that way, so you can see what the channels look like I routed into the wood.
The back of the trays are covered, only the front has openings. This way the mason bees do not have to work so hard closing up all the holes.
I did notice a birds nest close to where the home is. Hard to say if its still in use, and if it will be a problem for my bees. Birds indeed go after them, so Ill just have to check on them when I visit this location.
Looking forward to about a month from now to see if there is activity. I think if I build it they will come, as that famous baseball movie quote goes. Curious to see if the same kind of mason bee I have moves in (Osmia Taurus). This location is more north of where I live, so its possible I get a different kind of bee visiting. Also curious to what @makinstuff gets in his homes. Last year he was a little late setting it up, but if the home is still set up and well covered I hope he gets some solitary bee activity as well.
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