I live in the U.P.of Mi. Would mason bees survive -30 degrees? If they would, could I attrach wild bees by putting out nesting houses for them? or would I have to buy bees? YOPPER
Actually Mason bees need winter temperatures for their life cycle in order to survive. But -30 degrees may be too cold. I have heard that people wintering their Masons in their refrigerator or in unheated shed, so that would be safer than leaving them out in -30 degree weather.
If your Spring and Summer temperatures are "normal" (above 60/70 degrees), I am thinking that you should be able to attract bees with empty nesting houses, but you may want to start out with a Mason bee kit to get things going.
The people at Beediverse.com may be able to answer some of your questions better, though, since they are Mason Bee distributors. (please see link below).
Well, hope that helps.
Here is a link that might be useful: Beediverse.com - Contact Page
Great info. What about bee hole lenght. We're making them 3" deep. Hope to attract many. I've seen a Female & a male in 2 different places. It's the right time to make them. Wish me luck. The Orchard Mason bee is native to the west. I'm so excited! iT's my first attempt.
I believe the optimum length is 6 inches. With 3 inches you will likely get mostly males. In the longer holes the females will be in the back and the males towards the front because they are more expendible than the females.
Here is a link that might be useful: Mason Bee Experts
Sorry...here is the correct web site..........Tom
Here is a link that might be useful: Great info on Masons
Sorry for the delayed response. As Tom shared, 6 inches is a good length to start with but you don't want to go less than that. Ten inches is good average tube size to use to allow for successful female and male egg laying within it.
The main thing to remember, though is not to allow your tubing material to get wet. Also, plastic is not the best tubing material for Masons (it retains moisture and doesn't allow the nest to "breathe"). The best tubing is made from durable paper, such as cardboard tubes.
Your nest should be under a structure so it is out of the way during inclement weather. Also, facing the entrance towards where it will have access to the sunlight is also advised. If you plan to just encourage them to come to your garden and have them nest naturally, then you don't have to be concerned about storing them. However, if you are planning on "raising" them, then you do want to read up on them and about their care because they do have predatory insects (such as small wasps) that can prey on the eggs/larvae during the off-season. So you will want to learn when and how to pack them up after their season is over.
You can get Mason books at the BeeDiverse.com site. - http://www.beediverse.com/
Well, hope that helped some.