Osmia lignaria, also known as blue orchard bees or mason bees, is a native bee in the Pacific Northwest. It is prized by gardeners and fruit growers due to their pollination activity in the spring. This bee flies in April and May when fruit trees are in bloom.
Several factors make this bee a more effective pollinator than other insects. This sweet bee is often mistaken for a house fly which it resembles, but by looking closely you'll notice its antennae.
Gentle and Safe
Although this pollinator is a bee, is has little in common with the well-known honey bee or wasp and hornets. As a shy, solitary creature, it is focused on its duties and busily visits bloom after bloom ignoring everything else. Most importantly, it is a safe pollinator for any yard even those with kids and pets. Mason bees are non-aggressive because there is no queen to protect. Unless pinched or caught in clothing, they won't sting. Per the USDA Bee Lab in Utah, the sting carries no venum. Even individuals with bee allergies are not affected.
In nature, they nest in existing holes and do not create new holes. The female bee seals her baby's nest with mud. When nesting blocks are provided, this helps mason bees spend their time pollinating rather than looking for a home.
For these bees to survive and thrive, they need a sunny dry spot, plenty of plant pollen, and clay soil. They use the clay soil to construct cell walls to separate and entomb each egg and seal their nest. If your soil is sandy, or if your yard has no exposed soil, consider adding mason bee clay to a hole you dig 20-30 feet from the bee house. We offer mason clay in our online store for those yards void of the correct soil type.
Easy and Convenient
Mason bees are not only effective pollinators, they are easy to care for. Other gardening measures (such as pruning and weeding) are more time consuming. Our bees are practically self-sufficient in their little homes. Renting is easy and trouble-free. During the off season, you have no worries as the bees are with us. Using a kit from Rent Mason Bees gives you the easy path to successful pollination.
Bees are the Easiest Friend a Gardener Could Have
Compared to composting, pruning, and weeding, which require periodic and routine attention, you only need to visit these bees twice -- once when you place the bee house in its spot and again when you retrieve the kit. These bees are basically self-sufficient. But you will want to look often to view their activity and see the changes as the holes in the nesting block fill up. We provide compete kits to make it easy for every gardener to pollinate and reap the benefits.