A quick reference.

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A: Native Pollen Bees are also called Solitary Pollen Bees or Wild Bees. Mason Bees are one type of Solitary Pollen Bee. They do not live in colonies with a Queen or worker bees and they do not produce honey. They do the bulk of the pollination in our gardens, parks & forests. They are also responsible for helping pollinate the crops, fruit and vegetables we eat- 1 in every 3 mouthfuls of food we eat required pollination to grow! Native Pollen Bees work more efficiently than Honey Bees at pollinating flowers. They don't travel far, and so focus their pollination efforts on fewer plants. They fly quickly, visiting more plants in a shorter amount of time. Both males and females pollinate flowers, and Native Bees begin earlier in the spring than Honey Bees.
A: The native bee population used to be able to flourish finding their own relatively safe abodes. This is no longer the case. Increased disease, losses due to predators and most importantly, loss of habitat due to human encroachment have all combined to take an alarming toll on these gentle pollinators. Solitary and native bees (including mason bees) now need our help to stabilize and rebuild their population. Natural nesting sites and simple man-made wooden nests do not provide the same level of protection our Pollen Bee Nests do. A nesting place scientifically designed to be safer means more bees survive.
A: There are many species of Pollen Bee. Some are Bee Flies; some are extremely small. One noticeable difference is that Solitary Pollen Bees are usually covered in short hairs to which the pollen adheres. Wasps and hornets do not have these hairs.
A: You should provide a range of plants (native & garden) that will offer a succession of flowers through the whole growing season. We have included a list of plants with your nest (and you can download a copy here). This is a USDA-Approved plant list and you can choose plants suitable for your growing region (zone). Plant in clumps of one species rather than scattered around the garden as this allows bees to gather pollen with less expenditure of energy. Herbs and perennials also provide good foraging for solitary pollen bees.
A: Place some soil and a shallow bowl of water with a stone in the middle near the nests. The bees will use these to make mud to plug up the nest tubes. Also, if you put mulch over the soil in your garden, leave some areas free of mulch as the bees need to be able to get to the soil to make mud.
A: They help prevent pests and parasites from raiding the nesting tubes, greatly increasing the Pollen Bees' chances of survival. The bees will manage to emerge from the tubes with the stickers in place. You can remove the stickers once the bees have emerged.
A: No. Most hornets, wasps and yellow jackets live in colonies with a Queen and Workers so would not use the single nest tubes in our nest. Mud Dauber Wasps, although solitary, like to build their own nests of mud. You will also find that wasps will tend to avoid building their nests near our nests, as they are very territorial.
A: The nests should be put out from early Spring to the end of September. As Bees emerge at different times depending on when they were laid the previous year, the nest tubes will be filled at different times throughout the growing season. Allow 1 nest for each 10,000 square feet of area. The following year you will have 50-100 bees emerging throughout the season all looking for a new nest/home.
A: All the above love eating Bees and their larvae. However, our Solitary Pollen Bee Nests' molded waterproof baffles do a very good job of helping to protect the nest tubes from attack by their predators.
A: Our nest was designed to be mainly maintenance free and still ensure an increase in the bee population. During our development, we found many gardeners did not have the time or preferred not to clean the nest tubes each year. The volcanic rock around the nest tubes keeps the developing bees warm and dry in winter enabling the nest to stay outdoors all year. The rock also helps prevent mites from tunneling from one nest tube to another so if a tube is affected by mites it will not affect the other tubes. However, you will likely have even better results if you invest a bit of time in cleaning the nest tubes out each year. Therefore, we now offer an Emergence Chamber for sale for those who would like to clean the nest. See the Emergence Chamber FAQ below and, for more detailed info on the Emergence Chamber, check here.
A: The Solitary Bees that use our nests will not or cannot sting. They are non-aggressive and tend to fly away from confrontation. This makes the nests an ideal fun and educational medium for your children.
A: Use an Avery label or similar to cover the tubes. This will protect the tubes and allow the new generation of bees to easily emerge.
A: Over the years, debris and mites can build up in the nest tubes which could be harmful to the Pollen Bees. As Pollen Bees emerge at different times throughout the season, it can be hard to see which nest tubes are empty and which are in use, making cleaning difficult. The Emergence Chamber solves this problem by covering the nest and providing a small hole in the bottom which allows emerging bees to crawl out, but makes it unlikely they will find their way back in. This means that no new bees will nest in the tubes and they can be cleaned out as soon as all the bees have emerged. If you are using an Emergence Chamber, it is a good idea to have a fresh nest set up nearby so the emerging bees easily find a new home. >More information on Emergence Chambers.