Mason Bee House Compartment
Sunday, April 8, 2012 at 9:19PM
Brian Carlisle in Handyman Solutions, Insects, Mason Bee Houses, Upcycled Projects, Upcycling Blog, Yard Accessories, nature blog

A couple of months back I ordered some Mason Bees for the first time.  When you first get them, if the weather is still cool or even cold outside, you have to place them in the refrigerator to keep them in a state of hibernation until you are ready to release them into warmer, more consistent weather.  While I waited for a guarantee of warmer weather and after the usual frost we get before Easter (which we didn't get) I got to work on a Mason Bee house that I could use easily every year. 

It all started with the actual pieces of the house being created with some precut pieces of baseboards.  I figured they would have plenty of length and they were just sitting around.   From that, I created a compartment "shell" to house the layers of blocks.  I used a table router to "groove" the baseboards.  Generally, you want to create holes or grooves that are about 5/16" and about six inches deep.  I created this setup like others out there so I could harvest the "cocoons" at the end of the warm season to safely keep them in the fridge until the next release.  With Louisiana's freakish weather, I don't want to leave it up to our roller coaster weather swings to unecessarily confuse the bees until they have a proper habitat, food and water to do their best.  Also, this setup allows for cleaning of the grooves after each season to remove any mites or other things that harm or inhibit the bees.

If you are unfamiliar with Mason Bees, please look into them and be on the lookout for them in your own yard.  They are harder workers than honey bees at pollinating and are very docile.  They are a fair amount smaller than the usual bees you're used to.  Here's a great link to get an initial understanding of these great but overlooked do-gooders (HERE  & HERE).

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