How many bee species are there around the world?
One of the many stressors that today's bees face is a loss of flowering habitat.
An easy way to increase and improve habitat is to convert our grass lawns, which to a bee is a food desert, to flowering bee lawns. A bee lawn will attract and feed bees while it saves us time, money, and effort.
Raising spring mason bees is a growing trend among backyards across the country.
Recently, local news station King 5 visited Crown Bees headquarters to learn about our mason bees and how they are a part of a novel garden to farm to table movement.
Blue orchard mason bees (Osmia lignaria) are native bees that are active in the spring and are the perfect pollinators for blueberry fields.
Emerging from their cocoons in the spring, they fly in cooler and wetter weather than honey bees. Instead of living in a hive, mason bees live in pre-made holes and every female bee takes care of her own nest.
Wild hole-nesting bees, depending on their season, may start flying soon!
You have two options for taking care of your wild hole-nesting bees. First, you can harvest wild bee cocoons in the early spring, which requires more time and effort but you will be rewarded with getting to know your wild bee guests. The second option requires less time while still providing wild bees with fresh nesting holes each year.
Mason bees are named after masonry for a reason since female mason bees protect each nesting chamber with a wall of clayey mud. If mason bees can't find clayey mud nearby their bee house, they simply won't nest and will fly away to find another site.
Native hole-nesting bees, just like any creature, have their own set of diseases and pests that, when left unchecked, can harm or kill them.
Nesting holes should be opened once a year to remove diseases like chalkbrood (a deadly fungal infection) and pests like pollen mites (they eat the pollen loaf before the larvae can). At the very least, fresh nesting holes should be provided every year.