opabinia51
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 4659
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 9:58 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

Mason Bees

Everyone knows that a Healthy Garden comes about as a result of good soil and good pollinators. Well, through a bit of research I have discovered that the bee is the best thing going for a plant (as far as pollination is concerned). 8)


Anyway, everyone knows about Honey and Bumble bees and the nasty stings that they inflict on people. These are great pollinators but, there are also 19 999 - 29 999 other species of bees in the world. The type of bees that most people don't even consider but, are of enormous benefit to our Vegetable (and ornamental) gardens are MASON BEES. :shock: :D

Mason Bees are great little pollinators but, do not live in hives like the more well known bees. Thus, the home gardener must help these little rascals or rather, encourage these little whippersnappers to take residence in their gardens by building homes for them!

Here is a link to such instructions:
https://www.lifecyclesproject.ca/learningresources/bee_average/beebox.htm


And something else to note: The sting of a mason bee is supposed to be similar to that of a Mosquito.

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

Bees are great for the garden no matter what sting they have; they are also much threatened in the past few years by a virus and mites so that the wild population is in much decline. My friend Anita is a beekeeper and has made me aware of what they do for our gardens and we give bees short shrift for all the pollination they do. If bees dissappear, crop failures are right behind, so stingers or no, be kind to your bees...

Scot6t

opabinia51
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 4659
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 9:58 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

I am in agreement. Bees are wonderful things. Don't kill them! But, if you want to encourage the non stinging variety known as mason bees. You now have the power.

Of course, this leads me into the issue of organic gardening. Don't use all sorts of insecticides because you not only kill the bad insects (the ones that eat your plants) you also kill all the good insects (like mason bees, honey bees, bumble bees, Preying Mantids, laybird beetles and so on.). Insects also play a vital role in recycling dead plant and animal matter so, if all the insects are dead, and all the fungi and bacteria are dead, who is going to make wonderful soil for your plants to grow in?
Also, who is going to pollinate your plants? Best to not use harsh poisons in your garden. Better to encourage the lives of beneficial insects taht will keep the bad guys in check. Also, using companion planting, some plants repel insects that will eat other plants.

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

Hear Hear !

:lol:

Scott

opabinia51
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 4659
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 9:58 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

Yes, around where I live (Southwester British Columbia, Above Washington State) Mason Bees start rearing their lovely little heads in February. Best to get those Mason Bee Condominiums up now or ASAP. Also, Heather attracts Mason Bees as do Forsythia, primrose, sarrcacoca, snowdrops, winter jasmine and cherries. I am lucky enough to have three cherry trees right next to my Vegetable Garden. 8)

Newt
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1868
Joined: Wed May 26, 2004 2:44 am
Location: Maryland zone 7

Here's two articles on bees that might make you cry, if it doesn't scare the willies out of you.

https://www.livescience.com/animalworld/ap_bee_problem_050202.html
https://www.livescience.com/animalworld/bee_shortage_050128.html

Newt

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

Yup, that's the issues I was talkin' about, Newt! We are so busy spaying and killing flying insects we never stop to think on the consequences. Be kind to your bees, my friends. Here in the Northeast we can plant pycnanthemum, or mountain mint, that attracts more flying insects than I can name. One sure way to get the pollinators in your yard...

Scott

Newt
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1868
Joined: Wed May 26, 2004 2:44 am
Location: Maryland zone 7

And look what I found! Plants for bumblebees!
https://tomclothier.hort.net/page42.html

Interested in bee biology?
https://www.gobeekeeping.com/

A glimmer of hope perhaps?
https://science.orst.edu/bees.html

Newt :)

opabinia51
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 4659
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 9:58 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

Wow, I sure am glad that I stumbled into this website several months back! Those are great sites Newt! Hey, lucky, lucky! I have a Solidago (Goledenrod) on order from none other than my local organic nursery. (And she is going to give it to me at no charge (wink wink happy happy :D ). I'm planting morning glory tomorrow to eventually put in my Vegetable garden and Dill will definately be going in and.... I'm also planting Alyssum tomorrow. (Two varieties... got the seeds dirt cheap to.) So, not only will I be attracting Syrphid Flies, Lacewings, Assasin Bugs, and so on but, I now know that I will also be attracting bumble bees.

And word to the wise; at least in SW British Columbia: Mason Bees start showing their lovely little heads in February and die off during the summer heat so, plant Heather, Primrose and other plants to attract them and put out those Mason Bee Condiminiums for them to lay their eggs in! I'm putting mine out tomorrow.

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

Good advice Opa!

And nice sites Newt!

:D :D :D :D :D

Scott

opabinia51
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 4659
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 9:58 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

Yes, on the topic of bees. Goldenrod (Solidag spp) not only attracts lacewings and the like but, it also attracts a myriad of bees, flies (including syrphid flies) and other insects and spiders. It's a great plant to have in your vegetable garden. It also has medicinal properties. So, all the more reason to plant one or more.

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

Preaching to the choir here. Helped a friend dig "weeds" out of his new border and picked up three species of golderod all ensconced in my back yard now :) :)

Scott

opabinia51
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 4659
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 9:58 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

That's great! What species? Caroline is going to give me Solidago canadensis.

Return to “Vegetable Gardening Forum”