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the red mason bee
Red mason bees are gentle, non-aggressive solitary bees that make their nests in hollow spaces rather than in hives.
They raise their young on pollen, rather than nectar, so they pollinate much more efficiently than honey and bumble bees.
They happily work alongside their nectar-gathering counterparts.
They emerge from cocoons.
They nest April - July.
They don't sting.
The number of red mason bees in the wild is declining.
We do not need to stress how important these wonderful creatures are and how vital it is to our future that we safeguard their existence.
By creating bee-friendly habitats in our gardens and green spaces, and by taking an active role in helping bees fight disease and predation, we can begin to help mitigate some of the challenges facing them today.
dying to stay
Most are familiar with the concept of the Bee/Insect 'Hotel'
- assembled collections of canes / wood blocks drilled with holes -
used to create nesting places for bees and other garden critters.
A nice thought.
But there's a big problem for bees that nest in drilled blocks:
over time the channels become filled with nasty elements
that will threaten the survival of any larvae deposited inside.
Mason bees cannot remove this detritus themselves.
If we're serious about improving the bees' welfare,
it's vital that we safely clean their nesting spaces each season
which is not possible with canes or drilled wood blocks.