Origin: North America
Blue Orchard Mason Bees
Preferred Situation: Open woodland
Three filled tubes plus 15 empty tubes for an instant colony come spring. Solitary native bees act on their own as there is no hive and each female is her own queen and worker so she must provide the nesting site and food for her young. This is why mason bees are superior pollinators. Their dark colour allows them to go out in coolish sunny weather that keeps the honeybees in their hives. This why I've been promoting them over the years to increase the orchard yields. Mason bees emerge from their tubes just before the plums and pears blossom and are almost finished by the time the last apple petals fall. There is only one generation a year so providing the queens with optimal nesting conditions is essential for having mason bees the following year. I think 'Blue' is a bit of a misnomer as (I think) as the bees have more of a greenish cast. Each tube should contain at least 6 bees. Boy mason bees have white moustaches and the girls don't! Females have barbless stingers and will only use them to defend themselves.
For an instant colony in spring. You just need to make the house. Detailed instructions on raising mason bees will be given with every order. Its very important to have a diversity of flora that flowers early in the spring to late in the fall to promote pollinators and other beneficials in your garden. The use of biocides might not be enough to kill adult pollinators outright, but it can prove to be a poisonous pollen/nectar feast to their developing young.
Design the house so the rain DOESN'T dampen the tubes (wet tubes are a colony destroyer) and so that birds can't peck at them. Plastic tubing (4-6 inch diameter) works pretty well. Painted a wood tone and mounted so it can be secured is the best.