Advice for Mason Bee Newbie?
I purchased my first starter set of Mason Bees this winter, and am looking forward to seeing them around the yard. I live in Iowa, and am borderline zone 4/5. I'm looking for advice on how best to handle these bees to keep them in my yard. So a few questions for those more in the know than I.
1) What flowers can I offer these bees to keep them around? I have a crab apple tree in my yard, but no other fruit trees, and no room for other trees either. So I'm looking for some options on what I can plant to help them out.
2) How long can I delay putting the bees out? Many of my flowers I currently have don't get going until mid spring, say mid-May. Can I delay putting the bees out until then? If not, when would the best time to put them out be? I currently have them housed in the refrigerator.
3) How hot is too hot for nest location? I have a homemade nesting system based on some plans online. I plan on hanging this on the south side of my garage, but want to make sure it won't cook them. This location gets sun from mid morning to late afternoon. It can get hot depending on the weather. If I get too much sun and heat will the larvae die? The nesting system I am using consists of paper straws in a container which is then housed in a wooden next box. The sun won't be directly on the straws or their primary container, so should be somewhat protected. Is this sufficient, or should I move them to the west or east side of the garage?
Thanks for any help, I'm really excited to get these little buggers going!