• Crown Bees is a good website to look at for more info. They’re not local to you, so won’t give the best Minnesota-based advice, but they won’t ship you non-native bees, and the website has lots of information and pictures of ways to prevent buildup of pests. I got my mason bees from there, and I can also vouch for their great customer service, which seems more service-oriented than sales-oriented.

    February 24, 2012
    • Meleah

      Hi Michelle,
      Thank you! I just took a look at Crown Bees and they have a lot of helpful information, as well as excerpts from writings about the problem of shipping non-native bees. I think I will get some mason bees this year once I read up on them a bit more. I appreciate your thoughts.

      February 24, 2012
    • Tim

      When do you release your mason bees in MN?

      March 25, 2012
      • Meleah

        Good question. Mason bees are typically orchard pollinators. They need to be released when they’ll have a food source available, so it’s best to wait until some plants are in bloom, which is usually late April or early May in Minnesota. Raising mason bees successfully is not difficult, but there are some important things to understand. I would recommend reading the “What to Do” section of the Crown Bees website: http://www.crownbees.com/category/what-to-do/getting-started.

        March 27, 2012
  • Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you penning this
    post and also the rest of the site is extremely good.

    March 03, 2014
  • Lynn

    I just received a Mason Bee house as a gift…do I need to buy mason bees or can I just hang the house and hope mason bees will search it out?

    April 24, 2014
    • Meleah

      Hi Lynn,
      I used to think that you had to order mason bees but I went to a talk by Marla Spivak, a bee researcher at the University of Minnesota, and she said that if you put up the bee house, they will find it. So I’d go that route. – m

      April 28, 2014
  • The mason bees will find your nest box so there’s no need to buy bees. I think that the importation of bees from here to there increases the spread of viral diseases and pests. The honey bee pest, the varroa mite, got a strong foothold in the USA from because of transport bees being moved from crop to crop coast to coast.

    Another super helpful thing with mason bees is to that a bit of your time to clean the actual coccoons. When buying or making a nest, get one that has paper tubes so these can be opened and the coccoons removed. The junk can be shifted out. Then (check U-Tube for great info & videos) the coccoons can be shifted with sand. The abrasion of the sand removes the nasty mites. Then the clean coccoons will be healthy and hatch with no mite infestation. I hope this info is helpful :)

    May 29, 2014
    • Meleah

      Hi Barbara,
      Thank you so much for your helpful note. I went to a talk on bees recently and learned that, as you say, if you put up a mason bee box, mason bees will come. So you don’t need to buy them. I really appreciate these cleaning tips, too. – Meleah

      June 07, 2014
  • Rynn

    Thanks for all the help! I am in Saint Paul and was just gifted with a mason bee hose and tubes. I am looking to install it ASAP. Will I need to insulate it in any way if we get more of our Polar Vortex routines as we did last year? If so what would you suggest?

    August 21, 2014

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