You’re all concerned about our bee friends, yes? I actually get anxious thinking about it. We’re planting a variety of local wildflowers in hopes providing some good bee forage- and of course more bees will be good for our garden. Our next door neighbors keep bees, but their colony died over this long winter (problems with the queen, not colony collapse). We hope that having our big flower supply next door will help them out (and maybe score us a little honey). But its not just the humble honeybee one must consider. There are many wild bees that play important pollinating roles- some even more so than the honeybee. After I watched a few carpenter bees set up shop in our deck and back fence I knew I had a healthy population of these guys, but I did want to discourage further burrowing. Mason bees too are excellent pollinators, often better than honeybees, and live in small bore holes left behind by other burrowing creatures. While our deck can stand some work and our back fence should be replaced, I don’t think I want the bees to further help these structures along their slow decline. So I made a simple DIY Mason Bee Home to encourage important bee friends to set up shop in our garden.
Please don’t mind the yucky pictures. This was done in our basement on the old work bench that is more than a little gross (I think from this post alone you have a hint at the number of home projects we need to tackle). First, I found left over from building our garden beds a piece of 4×4 pine and from a shelving project, another piece of 2×4. Both were scraps just sitting around. I had used both to prop up other paint jobs and were very rough. I quickly sanded down some of the roughest edges and with our largest drill bit drilled holes just wider than a pencil, about 2 inches into the wood. Perfect for a Mason Bee mamma to lay several eggs. I nailed the 2×4 piece to the top to provide a little shelter for the holes from rain and attached a picture hook to the back for easy hanging. I painted the Mason Bee House yellow (bees, duh) except the part immediately by the holes, as I didn’t want the chemicals from the paint or the smell of it to be off putting to them in anyway. I have no idea if this matters or not, but if I were a bee, I would worry about acrylic paint all up in my space.
We hung our simple DIY Mason Bee Home on a protected side of our (decrepit) fence, where it doesn’t get too much direct sun, but also faces right next to our garden. Cause you know, you like to have your bedroom located not too far from the kitchen, right? I actually labeled it ‘Bee Condo’ because of all the units. Bee Apartment building is more like it. This was super fast to make (about an hour and a lot of that was painting/paint drying). Commercially bought Mason Bee homes are very pretty, and I bought one for my dad, but they can be pricey. And because the DIY version is practically free, it seems silly to buy it. But either way, the intention is good- let’s bee better to our bees. (See what I did there?)