Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Masons

Mason bees are excellent pollinators for fruit trees that bloom when the weather is still too cold for honey bees to fly. Mason bees will often occupy holes in a clay bank but will occupy just about any appropriate size hole. They don’t live in them, but lay their eggs for future generations. They don’t make holes, but they will use existing holes because there are enough holes in nature that are easy to find.

What they do is lay an egg for a female mason bee at the end of a hole, place in some nectar and pollen mixed together into a bread for food for the developing bee. Then they seal the first egg in with mud and do the process again and again. Each hole will have generally four female eggs, and the last three eggs at the front end will be the male mason bees which emerge first and fly around maturing before the first females emerge.

With this said, one mason bee took advantage of a hole that I drilled in the handle of a shovel so I could hang the shovel on a nail. Needless to say I haven’t been hanging this shovel up over the last few months and won’t be able to until the bees emerge next April.


Blogger Hahn at Home said...

That's pretty cool guy. I wonder if they prefer light emitting holes?

5:59 AM  
Blogger Mom of Three said...

Mozart was a Mason.

8:22 AM  
Anonymous gearhead said...

You better hide that shovel.
I'm tempted to steal it and pollinate my plum trees with it next spring.

1:01 PM  
Blogger Syd said...

Something about that is just really cute.

7:56 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Lori, no, men like that, and orchard mason queens are just seeking a cave.

Mo3, so were most of the presidents, and you wouldn't believe all the organizations that are off shoots of the Masons. Namely the KKK and the National Grange.

Gearhead, you've got pollination problems over there?

Syd, so you are bee curious...

8:19 AM  

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