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Spring Blooms & Mason Bees

March 17, 2011
First Mason Bee in the Sun

First Mason Bee in the Sun

The earliest of the spring flowering trees are awash in clouds of pink, purple & white all over Seattle. These are the trees best loved by solitary Mason bees, which are beginning to emerge from their cocoons to pollinate, forage, mate, and lay eggs for next year’s brood — all in just a few short months before summer.

Most people miss out on these tiny, black bees. They’re out in the garden doing their good works even in cool late winter weather. They are essentially stingless and definitely non-aggressive.

In my garden, I sponsor a space for Dave Hunter’s Orchard Mason bees to spend their active season. Just a week ago, I picked up my kit for the season. Last Sunday, Bob put the first tube out in their box on our warm, south-facing side of the house. (We’ll be moving tubes filled with cocoons out of the chilly fridge to the bee box over the course of several weeks with the hope being that the bees have a better chance of survival even if we have a cold, wet horrible spring.)

Today, the sun came out. The south side of the house warmed up. And, I spotted the first mason bee lurking on the edge of the box — likely a male waiting for his first potential date to emerge to do the dance of love with him.


  1. Dave Hunter says:

    I can hardly believe that it’s spring either Robin. What’s fun to see is that more people are hearing about this gentle bee and wanting to try raising them as well. We’re still getting a ton of orders in daily. (Good for business, even better for the bees to be raised well!)

  2. I’ve been sharing the word on the bees with many clients and sending them your way for the masons. Glad to hear the orders continue to come in. And, I was thrilled to see one of my beautiful little black buzzers out in the sun yesterday! Cheers & Thank you!

  3. […] this time, there were a few warm, sunny days. And, I did see both male and female bees emerge. And, I watched the ladies forage and work in the nesting tubes. But, unfortunately, […]

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