How to use clay to support your mason bees

Have a bag of clay for your mason bees? Here's how to create a mud hole for your bees to use through out the season: 

1. Dig a small hole somewhere in your yard. It does not need to be right next to where you hung your bee house. The bees will travel 300 feet in any direction from the box searching for pollen and mud. 
2. Get the hole wet.
3. Get the clay wet. This can be in your hands or in a bowl. This part is a bit messy as the clay gets very sticky when its wet. 
4. Line one side of the hole with the sticky clay about .5" to 1" thick. The clay does not need to go all the way around the hole. Mold it as if your a molding a clay bowl. The bees will go into the side of the hole to find mouthfuls of muddy clay. 
5. Keep the hole wet throughout May. As temperatures dry out, fill the hole periodically with water when you go out to water your garden. This will keep the clay moist and enable the bees to use it to fill their nesting blocks to protect their developing offspring. 

Didn't pick up a bag of clay? That's OK.

Dig a hole somewhere in your yard and keep the hole muddy through the season. If at the end of the season only a few holes are filled, consider buying a bag of clay next year to supplement your soil. The bees will thank you!