Mason Bee House Construction

$3.00 in Materials

Using one 6 foot long, 1″ x 6″ cedar fence I was able to construct a basic native bee house. The entire piece of wood cost about $4.12 and I used about 2/3 of it.

Sides (2) – 6″ x 6.5″ – the tubes are 6″ so I prefer to have them slightly recessed.

Top and Bottom – both 6″ x 7″

Back – 6″ x 9″ – drill a hole at the top to support the house.

Shelf – measure to fit – approximately 4 5/8′ x 6″
This is used to put cocoons on in the spring.

I used 14 screws. Pre-drill 3/32″

Other Tips.

  • Select the cedar boards with care. Try and find boards without knots.
  • I will waterproof the roof later.
  • The boards are actually 5 7/8″ so take that into consideration in your cutting.
  • I plan to slightly tilt the house forward to help with drainage.
  • You can either buy the tubes online or make your own.
  • Please watch the video below to learn the basics.
  • You can buy bees in cocoons from Crown Bees.

Option #2 – 3″ plastic pipe.

7 Inches in length. 3″ pipe – cut with hand saw.

As of May 15th no Leaf Cutter bees have shown up.

Option #3 – 2″ x 6″ wood. Cut to fit in house.

5/16″ drill bit – 12″ long.
Testing a plain hole versus paper inserts.

Note – I used a 2 x 6 because that’s what I had in the wood pile. You could even use 2 x 4’s or 4 x 4’s. The 2″ x 6″ are actually only 1.5″ x 5.5″.

Mason Bee Tips

  • Have a clay source nearby. Bees won’t nest if they can’t find clay.
  • Point the houses toward the East or South to get the morning sun.
  • Have plenty of flowering plants close to the mason bee house.

May 15 – Mason Bee Report

As of May 15th, the mason bees have filled up ten of the 8mm holes. It seem like a new hole is filled around every day or so.

May 27th – 20 holes filled.

Bee Notes

The larvae need natural summer temperatures to fully develop into adult bees. Don’t open any nesting materials, place in refrigerator, or harvest cocoons until mid to late fall.

Protect developing bees over the summer. Place nesting materials in a Bee Guard Bag (or other breathable bag), mud capped ends up, in an unconditioned garage or shed. They need natural summer temps to develop, so don’t place in an air conditioned area. If you don’t have a garage or shed, they may remain outside, just make sure they are sheltered from direct sunlight and rain.

Bee mindful of rodents! Mice love to snack on mason bee larvae.

Clean your bee house of any mud or insect debris.

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