Mason Bee Box
To bring attention to the decline in bees throughout North America and improve pollination within our community, mason bee nest boxes are maintained by community volunteers at Newman Farm. There are approximately 40-100 bees within a bee box that live there from May to August.
What is a bee box?
A bee box consists of a block of wood or stacked pieces of wood or plastic, into which small holes are drilled to provide a home for the bees. The bee box faces southeast to maximize morning sun exposure.
Why mason bees?
Mason bees can be found all over Central Saanich. They are solitary bees that do not make honey. Since mason bees do not make honey they do not swarm and are very gentle creatures. Male mason bees do not have stingers and in a typical bee box there are only two females for every ten males. A mason bee will only sting if handled roughly or if trapped under clothing.
Mason bees are hairy and busy animals. A bee may travel up to 500 m from its home pollinating 75 flowers per trip. To collect enough food for one mason bee egg an adult must make 25 trips. At 75 flowers per trip, that's 1,875 flowers pollinated. A standard bee box may house up to 80 eggs requiring the pollination of 150,000 flowers.
Where do bees go after the summer?
When the bee boxes are cleaned, the eggs will be collected and stored in the fridge until the following spring. Mason bee eggs prefer to over-winter in a cool dark spot like the corner in the fridge.
How you can help:
- Make your garden bee friendly by planting flowers, fruits and vegetables that will flower from spring to summer
- Avoid using pesticides and herbicides that may kill bees