How can you attract pollinators to your garden? Think of your own needs when looking for a place to live. What do you need? Shelter, water and food. An animal’s needs are basically the same. Pollinators come in many shapes and sizes, including birds, bees, wasps, flies, other flying insects. One bee that gets little attention in our concern about pollinators is the solitary, mason bee (of the genus Osmia). More about the lifecycle and nesting habits of this bee can be found at this cited article, Mason Bee – Wikipedia.
These industrious bees are excellent pollinators for your vegetable garden, so it’s important to encourage them to nest on your property. Along with your tomatoes and peppers in your vegetable garden, be sure to plant plenty of bee-attracting flowers such as agastache (hyssop), echinacea (purple coneflower) and rudbeckia (black-eyed Susans). Suffice it to say, that this hard working bee simply asks for a small, cozy shelter within which to lay it’s eggs and raise another brood. Bundles of hollow reeds usually do the trick, along with a spot of mud nearby.
Cardboard tubes, which can be widely found from internet merchants, are not actually appropriate homes for mason bees. The paper cardboard can disintegrate over time, subsequently molding when exposed to heavy rains, which can harm the developing brood. However you can obtain excellent, long lasting bee bundles right here from Mother Oak’s Garden. Add one or two bundles to your garden for the bees!
Nothing pleases a mason bee more than having a ready-made habitat on site, ready to go! These expertly crafted bee bundles will provide a nesting place for solitary, mason bees. Tie one firmly about three to six feet off the ground, preferably facing east, to encourage bees to nest inside. Locate your mason bee home near mud, which the bees will use inside their nest. Enjoy a bountiful vegetable harvest this fall with the help of your friends, the mason bees!