Thursday, March 6, 2008

Orchard Mason Bees

A new adventure in bees.
In researching what it requires for my condo bldg to have a certified backyard habitat, I got to thinking about orchard mason bees. I thought it would be cool to install some in our backyard area, or even just have them on my deck.
While mason bees don't produce honey, they are pollinators and would satisfy one of the checkboxes of the backyard habitat- providing a place for living creatures to nest/live.

SO, I just ordered an orchard mason bee "house" and some bees- they come in pods, not yet active...which I thought was interesting, we will see what I end up with. Apparently the bees have a much longer life cycle than honey bees.

Here's the site I ordered them from...knoxcellars it is local- in washington, but there were many other options for online ordering if you are interested. Also, you can simply make your own orchard mason bee nesting block by drilling some holes in a block of wood (dimensions matter so do a little research online before you do this and then hanging the block up outside in your yard. Some local orchard bees might find their way into the nest and voila!
I just wanted to go the surefire route of ordering some bees to start with.

Here is a really good article telling everything you wanted to know about orchard bees.

Oh and, mason bees don't sting or rarely sting!

On organic honey | By Umbra Fisk | Grist | Ask Umbra | 05 Mar 2008

On organic honey By Umbra Fisk Grist Ask Umbra 05 Mar 2008

I have wondered about this for a while, and while this article doesnt necessarily answer the question all that well (in my opinion), it raises some questions you might want to ponder with regard to labels you see on honey and all foods.