Introducing The Absolute Best Mason Bee Houses For 2024

best mason bee house

If you are new to beekeeping, then you might have never heard of the mason bee – and you might well disregard them as being irrelevant to your efforts when you learn that the mason bee does not produce any honey or beeswax. In fact, the mason bee produces nothing that is regularly used or consumed by humans. But here is the thing, beekeepers and gardeners alike typically encourage the flourishing of mason bees around their hives and in their gardens. But why? What are the advantages of keeping mason bees around?

Just like the honey bee, the mason bee has been a companion of humanity for centuries. In terms of behavior, they are some of the most docile and tranquil insects around, and this is certainly one the reasons they are found so often in the vicinity of properties or even honey bee hives. Mason bees will only sting if trapped or squeezed, and the male of the species has no stinger at all. Mason bees can co-exist perfectly well with honey bees as well, as they make their nests in completely different locations and do not trouble honey bee hives at all. Amateur and professional beekeepers alike frequently keep mason bees.

What Is the Mason Bee?

Easily identifiable from its trademark metallic blue or black color, mason bees are so called because they construct their nests from mud and clay, although they may also use chewed plant tissue and grit. Mason bees are very common in the United States, and they often occur in locations on their own initiative, without any human activity to coax them in. They resemble more the honey bee than the other species of bee, but they are easily distinguishable not only for their distinct color, but by being noticeably smaller as well.

There are several different species of mason bee, and, of these, the red mason bee is the one which you might possibly confuse with a honey bee, being similar in color. Masons live in much more solitary conditions than the huge colonies typical for honey bees. Every female mason bee is fertile (there is no individual queen) and makes her own nest. There are no worker bees among mason bees, and they are notably less social than most other species. Normally, mason bees seek out cracks in rocks and buildings within which to construct their nests, but they also seek out the hollow channels in wood created by wood-boring insects.

As this latter location is the most optimal, it is the design deliberately copied by most mason bee houses, which are specially designed complexes for mason bees to make their nests in. Importantly, mason bee houses are not bee hives – they may have room for several occupants but each one of these occupants will undergo the same solitary life cycle particular to the species. But before delving deeper into mason bee houses, what makes a good mason bee house and what are the best ones currently on the market? And you might well be wondering why anyone would want to keep around bees when they produce no useful products.

Advantages of Keeping Mason Bees

As it happens, mason bees do actually help with our yields of honey and other beekeeping products such as beeswax, royal jelly, and comb. They do this, however, indirectly. Mason bees are in fact incredibly efficient pollinators – more so than honey bees or bumble bees – and thus their proliferation is encouraged wherever a beekeeper – or even just a budding gardener – would like to see a garden or a bee-foraging territory in full bloom. And while mason bees live a solitary lifestyle, they like to construct their nests close to one another. So, in a sense, mason bees are usually found in numbers, but it is important to remember that they are also the most individual of bee species.

Few beekeepers – and indeed people in general – are now unaware of the global ecological plight of the honey bee. As sad as it is, honey bees are declining in numbers, but keeping mason bees is one small way of doing something about this. Mason bees do not simply pick up the pollinating slack from honey bees, their busy and efficient pollination also helps the numbers of honey bees in the vicinity by vastly expanding the flora for them themselves to pollinate. Remember, pollination is not just the act of retrieving nectar from the flowers, but also spreading that pollen, dispersing seeds, and helping more plants to grow. A single mason bee can visit as many as a thousand different blooms every day. By doing this, mason bees help to create more blooms for the honey bees to visit, boosting their numbers and, of course, getting you more honey.

So keeping mason bees is a great idea if you want to see richer yields from your honey bees – or simply more blooms in your garden.

Mason Bee Houses

If you want to encourage mason bees to set up nests in your area, then, a mason bee house is the best product to invest in. Mason bee houses can come in a diverse range of shapes and sizes, but all follow the same basic design, aping the elongated hollow spaces which wood-boring insects create in nature. Of course, a mason bee house will optimize the space for the bees and will encourage as many as possible to nest close to one another. A mason bee house typically contains many more spaces for bee nests than would ever be found in nature.

Mason bee houses usually consist of an outside frame, normally in the charming shape of an actual house, but it could take any form. Inside this is the congregation of small wooden tubes, often made from hollowed out bamboo, which is where each individual mason bee female will lay her eggs and breed the next generation. Because they offer more living space than is typically found in a single location in nature, a mason bee house is sure to increase the numbers of mason bees visiting a particular area.

Mason bees will mate in the open before returning to their nest to lay the eggs. Multiple eggs are laid inside each tube, and they are separated by a small deposit of nectar and pollen upon which the larvae feed upon. After the pollen and nectar have been supplied, the mason bee will cap the end of each tube with a mud plug. At this point, her work is done, and she will fly off to die.

In the spring, the mature mason bees emerge from the tubes. Males always emerge first because female eggs are placed deeper within the tube to ensure their protection and an abundant female population to keep the species going. Such is the remarkable life cycle of the mason bee and the great population-boosting potential of investing in a mason bee house.

Mason bee houses also have to be cleaned after the emergence of the new generation of bees. The goal is not only to remove the empty cocoons, but also to clear out any other debris such as residual nectar or the remains of perished larvae. Some mason bee houses can be opened up for this purpose, but most simply ensure the tubes are not too small to facilitate cleaning.

Where is the Best Place to Hang a Bee House?

A mason bee house should be placed against a flat surface and in an area protected from high winds. A mason bee house should also be placed in a favorable position relative to the sun, with the openings facing south or south-west in order to keep the larvae warm during the winter. A mason bee house should also ideally be placed six to seven feet off the ground and preferably under the protective eaves of a house or garden shed. As mentioned, mason bees very rarely sting, do not congregate in any numbers and, as such, will present no danger even if you place the nest very close to your home.

Buying Mason Bees

If you want to get a population of mason bees going in your area, but do not have naturally occurring bees, then it is possible to buy mason bees. The fact that these non-honey producing bees are available for sale is testament to the value of every other service they provide. Releasing the bees within the vicinity of your mason bee house and then taking proper care going forward is the best way to get the numbers going.

Here are the Best Mason Bee Houses

So, setting aside the possibility of building your own mason bee house, what are the best ones on the market right now and what should you look for when selecting a mason bee house?

The best mason bee houses should offer ample space for the bees but also a series of tube openings which vary in size. Mason bee houses with uniform openings are not optimal. This is not only because these less adeptly imitate the natural habit of mason bees, but also because the bees might have various preferences depending on their size and species. For the same reason of imitating nature, it is best if your mason bee house is made of wood, as this material will be affected by the sun and weather in just the same way as a natural nest created by a mason bee.

Beyond this important consideration, personal taste comes into the equation. As mentioned, mason bee houses can be in almost any shape or size and can hold varying numbers of bees. Depending on the area where your honey bees forage or the size of your back yard, this might be an important consideration. Some might be styled in such a way to suit your tastes and others might even have additional features such as butterfly houses. There are certainly indicators of quality but selecting the right mason bee house will also depend on what is right for you.

So, what are the top mason bee houses on the market right now? Here follows the list:

Bestseller No. 1
Mason Bee House Wax Coated Bee Hive,Carpenter Bee House for The Garden, Solitary Bee Hotel Waterproof,Natural Handmade Wooden Mason Bee Box Tiny Home,Attracts Peaceful Bee Pollinators,Bee Keeping Gift
  • Bee Houses for Outside-Mason Bee House is beeswax coated which made Bee House waterproof and more durable. Help keep your garden busy by provide a comfortable Bee Hotel for wild pollinators.
  • Assembled Wooden Bee Hotel for the Garden- The natural wooden Mason Bee Hive you receive is assembled and ready to use, the Mason Bee House attracts and protects Mason Bees and Butterflies to your garden, making your garden more productive, it also attracts peaceful bees for pollination, increasing the productivity of your garden.
  • Beautiful Mason Bee Houses Package Design – Great for Beehive House Gift, Plant Lover Gift, Best Gift for Your Wonderful Garden.
  • Mason Bee House Tube Size- Mason bees usually prefer to settle their homes in existin holes and crevices,the tube of bee house is made of high quality kraft paper,The paper tube is 5/16 inch in diameter,and the 6 inch long tube are the perfect length for mason bees.
  • Bee Houses for the Garden: The back of the Mason Bee House is fitted with a metal wall buckle, you can wall-mount it on a wall or garden stake etc. If you want to hang it from a tree,We have a rope for you that you can use your own hook to nail to the front of the Bee House and attach the front and back hooks together with a rope and hang them on the tree.
Bestseller No. 2
Nature’s Way Bird Products PWH1-C Teal Bee House
  • Naturally maintain and improve the health of the plants in your yard, landscape, or garden by attracting beneficial insects!
  • Attract gentle solitary bees capable of pollinating up to 20x that of honeybees to help your plants reach their full potential
  • Easy-mount hanger
  • Dimensions: 8”H x 6”W x 3.5”D
  • Attracts these beneficial insects: Mason Bees, Leafcutter Bees, Solitary Bees
SaleBestseller No. 3
Mason Bee House Wax Coated Bee House,Carpenter Bee Hotel for The Garden,Pollinator House Waterproof, Natural Handmade Wooden Mason Bee Hotel for Pollinating Bees Garden Supplies,Attracts Peaceful Bee
  • Heavy Wax Coated-The Mason Bee House is Full Body Coated with Wax,Which can Last the its Service Life and Protects the bee house From the Rain
  • Assembled Wooden Bee House-The natural wooden mason bee nest you receive is assembled and ready to use and with stainless steel screw clasp on the back of the bee house, you can hang it on a tree or wall
  • Beautiful Package Design – Great for beehive house gift, plant lover Gift, Best Gift for Your Wonderful Garden
  • Mason bee house tube Size- For mason bee and easy to get the mason bee coocoons, same 5/16″Diameter Size Hole and 6″Long Which is Perfect Size for Mason Bee;Easily For Mason Beekeeper to Remove the Cocoons
  • PACKAGE INCLUDE: 1 Completed Mason Bee House assembled with Hook and Nails,1 Meter Long Rope Can be Hang in the Tree or Wall to attract and protect mason bees and butterflies to live in your garden and make your garden more productive, it also attracts peaceful bee pollinators to enhance your garden’s productivity.
Bestseller No. 4
Mason Bee House Native Bee Hive Hexagon Bee House Natural Handmade Wooden Mason Bee Box Habitat Home Hotel with Bamboo Tubes -Attracts Peaceful Bee Pollinators to Enhance Your Garden’s Productivity
  • Mason Bee Box Main Purpose – Bee Houses for the Garden Mason Bee Houses Size: 8″ x 8″ x 4″ / 20cm*20cm*10.5cm and 2.6 lbs/1.2kg.Sturdy Mason Bee Hotel attract and protect mason bees, butterflies and ladybugs to live in your garden, making your garden more productive, and It can also contribute to preventing carpenter bees from causing damage to your house.
  • Bee Hotel for the Garden – Delux Hexagon Bee Houses are made of solid pine wood.Mason Bee Hotel – Naturally dry bamboo tubes will not be moldy and pollinators will not get sick easily.
  • Bee Houses for the Garden – Mason Bee Hives comes with about 90 nesting tubes + hanging rope and Metal wall buckle. Gives a safe environment for native pollinator bees and enhance productivity of pollination.
  • Bee Houses for Outside – Garden Gifts for Bee Lovers,Great for Beehive House Gift,Best Gift for Your Wonderful Garden.
  • Hanging wall hanging mason bee houses for the garden – Experience the Hewewor Native Bee House now to keep your garden busy.
Bestseller No. 5
TOOBEETT Mason Bee House Wax Coated Mason Bee Hive Wooden Insect Hotel Carpenter Bee House for Outdoors Attracts Peaceful Bee Pollinators to Your Garden
  • APPROPRIATE SIZE: The full body size is L*W*H: 6.69 x 7.67 x 11.81 inches, providing a long enough tubes in 5.9’’ length and 5/16’’ diameter for solitary native bees.
  • WATER PROOF: Wax coated bee house is weather resistant, lasting a long service life. The bee house provides a comfortable habitat for bumble bees.
  • DURABLE CONSTRUCTION: The surface of the bee house is constructed by solid sturdy wood in thickness 0.78in, and pre-assembled by 304 stainless steel screws(The material of buckles is galvanized iron), with hanging rope and wall buckles.
  • NATURAL MATERIAL: The bee houses is made of natural wood and is easy to be installed; Nesting cardboard tubes are replaceable .
  • DECORATION: A wonderful ornament to be placed at your garden or any place you want; The native bees ,butterfly and ladybird can help your flowers to flourish, enhance your garden productivity, and make your garden much more beautiful.
SaleBestseller No. 6
Mason Bee House – Handmade Natural Wooden Bee Hive Coated with Wax for Water-Proof and Long Service Life – Attracts Peaceful Bee Pollinators to Your Garden,Carpenter Bee Houses for Garden
  • Water Proof and Long Service Life:The Mason Beehive is Full Body Coated with Wax,Which can Last the its Service Life and Protects the house From the Rain
  • Assembled Wooden Bee House-The natural wooden mason bee nest you receive is assembled and ready to use and with stainless steel screw clasp on the back of the bee house, you can hang it on a tree or wall
  • Beautiful Package Design – Great for beehive house gift, plant lover Gift, Best Gift for Your Wonderful Garden
  • Mason bee house tube Size- For mason bee and easy to get the mason bee coocoons, same 5/16″Diameter Size Hole and 6″Long Which is Perfect Size for Mason Bee;Easily For Mason Beekeeper to Remove the Cocoons
  • PACKAGE INCLUDE: 1 Completed Mason Bee House assembled with Hook and Nails,1 Meter Long Rope Can be Hang in the Tree or Wall to attract and protect mason bees and butterflies to live in your garden and make your garden more productive, it also attracts peaceful bee pollinators to enhance your garden’s productivity.
Bestseller No. 7
Molly & Nemo Mason Bee House,Handmade Natural Wooden Bee Hive,Hexagon Bee Box with Bamboo Tubes,Waterproof and Long Service Life
  • Mason Bee House: The Bee House Package that You Received is Completed Assembled Ready,and 8 bamboo tubes that can be replaced .
  • Waterproof Bee House: The Mason Beehive is Full Body Coated with Wax,Which can Last the its Service Life and Protects the house Fromthe Rain.
  • Bee Box with Bamboo Tubes:Delux Hexagon Bee Houses are made of wood.Naturally dry bamboo tubes will not be moldy and pollinators will not get sick easily.
  • Natural Wooden Bee Hive: Suitable for bees as their habitat, and they can also settle in this house.Attracting bees and ladybugs can increase the pollination rate of plants and flowers and make the garden more lush.
  • Bee Houses for the Garden:There is a hook up behind the Bee Box, you can hanging it on any place you want or set in other place directly.
Bestseller No. 8
Nature’s Way Wooden Bee House for Outdoor Décor, Beneficial Insects and Pollinators, Mason Bee, Leafcutter Bee, White
  • POWER POLLINATORS: Boost garden output by hosting gentle solitary bees that can pollinate up to 20x more than honeybees, house mason and leafcutter bees to grow an abundance of flowers, berry plants, and fruit and nut trees.
  • PROMOTE BIODIVERSITY WITH BENEFICIAL INSECTS: Hollow tubes of differing diameters house a variety of docile solitary pollinators, increase biodiversity in your ecosystem’s pollinators and plants at the same time!
  • SUSTAINABLE BAMBOO: Eco-friendly bamboo shoots provide the perfect egg-laying site for gentle power pollinators. Allowing you to be a sustainable partner in boosting their population and the environment.
  • EASY SETUP AND VERSTATILE DESIGN: Easy-mount design allows for quick setup anywhere in your garden or backyard. Farmhouse bee barn design allows for an eye-catching outdoor décor item.
Bestseller No. 9
Elipark Wooden Mason Insect Bee Butterfly House,Insect Hotel,an Outdoor Hanging Bamboo Habitat for Bee Butterfly Ladybugs Live,Bee Box,Butterfly Habitat for Garden,9 x 15.7 x 2.5 Inch
  • Dimensions: 9 x 16 x 3 Inch,More capacity, More uses.
  • The mason bee house has more holes to accommodate for more Butterflys, bees and ladybugs to habitat, hatcheries or shelter from rain.
  • Made of natural materials, such as pine wood, bamboo and pine cone, and not painted. The different filling materials attract a variety of different bugs.
  • The metal roof will help protect it from the weather.Waterproof to protect the hotel from erosion,and help stop rain from soaking the bits and pieces that are supposed to keep the ladybirds and lacewings dry.
  • Suspension design (via hooks on the back),You can hang it on garden walls, fences, trees, or anywhere else you can hang it.Keep it as dry as possible
Bestseller No. 10
WHITEHORSE Premium Cedar Bee House – 6″ Long Replaceable Tubes – Perfect for Mason Beekeeping – an Insect Hotel Built to Last – Great Addition to Your Garden Decor (Paper Tubes)
  • WEATHERPROOF – A large roof overhang keeps the tubes shaded and dry; A 0.5″ gap in front of the tubes further protects them from rain; Dado joint-construction in the back keeps the bee box dry and less drafty
  • WELL-BUILT – Made from beautiful western cedar wood; A thicker roof reduces overheating and increases the longevity of the bee house; Decking screws used instead of nails for a long-lasting construction
  • EASY TO INSTALL – With a simple French cleat system, Included: mounting cleat and screws, detailed installation tips, and our popular guide on how to successfully attract and keep mason bees and other solitary species
  • BEES LOVE IT – Designed by professional beekeepers and experts; A great starting kit; Makes for a fun educational project for kids
  • HAPPINESS GUARANTEED – We stand by the quality of this bee house and we are confident that it will last longer than other bee boxes!

Best Mason Bee Houses – Last Word

And that’s it for my list of the top mason bee houses on the market right now. As you might have noticed, durability, ease of cleaning, and versatility are the most important aspects of a great mason bee house, and those that combine these attributes with the minimum of ostentation are generally the best. Nonetheless, you should always consider your own needs before investing in a mason bee house, whether that be increasing pollination and bloom for your productive honey bees or simply creating a space that bursts into life every spring. Mason bee houses are truly a product for beekeepers and general nature lovers alike.

FAQs

Q: What is a mason bee house? A: A mason bee house is a man-made structure designed to provide nesting sites for solitary mason bees. It typically consists of small tubes or tunnels where female mason bees can lay their eggs and seal them with mud, hence the name ‘mason.’

Q: Why should I have a mason bee house in my garden? A: Mason bee houses benefit your garden by providing a habitat for these gentle, non-aggressive pollinators. They help to pollinate flowers, fruits, and vegetables, improving the overall health and productivity of your garden.

Q: How do I set up a mason bee house? A: To set up a mason bee house, choose a location that receives morning sunlight and is protected from wind and rain. Mount the bee house at least 3-5 feet off the ground, facing southeast or east, and ensure there is a nearby source of mud or clay for the bees to use.

Q: What materials should I use to make a mason bee house? A: You can make a mason bee house from various materials such as untreated wood, bamboo, or paper tubes. The key is to ensure that the tunnels are around 5/16 inch (8mm) in diameter and 4-6 inches (10-15cm) deep to accommodate the mason bee’s nesting preferences.

Q: How do I clean and maintain a mason bee house? A: To clean and maintain your mason bee house, remove the nesting tubes or blocks once the bees have emerged in spring. Clean the tubes or drill holes with a mild bleach solution, let them dry thoroughly, and replace them before the next nesting season.

Q: How can I attract mason bees to my bee house? A: To attract mason bees, ensure that your bee house is set up properly and provide a source of mud or clay nearby. Additionally, plant a variety of flowering plants that bloom from early spring to late fall to provide ample food sources for the bees.

Q: Are mason bees aggressive? A: Mason bees are non-aggressive and rarely sting. They are solitary bees and do not defend their nests like social bees, making them ideal for gardens and urban environments.

Q: Do mason bees produce honey? A: No, mason bees do not produce honey. They are primarily solitary pollinators and do not form large colonies like honeybees.

Q: Can I have a mason bee house if I’m allergic to bee stings? A: Yes, mason bee houses are generally safe for people with bee sting allergies because mason bees are non-aggressive and rarely sting. However, it is still essential to exercise caution and avoid disturbing the bees or their nests.

Q: How long do mason bees live? A: Mason bees have a relatively short lifespan. Adult females typically live for 4-6 weeks, while males live for 2-3 weeks. Once they have completed their life cycle, the next generation of mason bees will emerge from the bee house the following spring.

Q: Do mason bee houses attract other insects? A: While mason bee houses are designed specifically for mason bees, other solitary bee species and some insects may also use the tunnels for nesting. This is generally not a cause for concern, as most of these insects are also beneficial to your garden.

Q: When is the best time to set up a mason bee house? A: The best time to set up a mason bee house is in early spring, just before the mason bees emerge from their cocoons and begin looking for nesting sites.

Q: Can I have both a honeybee hive and a mason bee house in my garden? A: Yes, you can have both a honeybee hive and a mason bee house in your garden. Mason bees and honeybees have different nesting habits and do not compete for resources, so they can coexist peacefully and contribute to increased pollination.

Q: How do I know if mason bees are using my bee house? A: To determine if mason bees are using your bee house, look for signs of activity such as bees entering and exiting the tunnels, or mud caps sealing the tunnel entrances. These mud caps indicate that a female mason bee has laid her eggs and sealed the tunnel with mud.

Q: Do mason bees require any specific plants in my garden? A: Mason bees are generalist pollinators and will visit a variety of flowering plants. However, they are particularly attracted to native plants, fruit trees, and berry bushes. Planting a diverse selection of flowers with different bloom times will ensure a continuous food source for the bees throughout the season.

Q: Can I move a mason bee house once it has been set up? A: It is best to avoid moving a mason bee house once it has been set up, as doing so may disturb the nesting bees and potentially harm their developing offspring. If you must move the house, do so carefully and during a time when the bees are least active, such as on a cool, overcast day or during the evening.

Q: How can I protect my mason bee house from predators and parasites? A: To protect your mason bee house from predators and parasites, position it in a location that is out of reach of ground-dwelling predators like ants and rodents. Additionally, use removable or replaceable nesting materials to make it easier to clean and sanitize the house, reducing the risk of parasitic infestations.

Beekeeping Disclaimer:

Beekeeping, like any agricultural activity, involves inherent risks. It is important to understand these risks and take appropriate measures to mitigate them.

Potential risks associated with beekeeping include:

  1. Bee stings: Honey bees are generally not aggressive but can become defensive if they feel threatened or their hive is disturbed. Bee stings can cause allergic reactions or even anaphylaxis in some individuals, which can be life-threatening. It is important to wear protective clothing and follow best practices when handling bees to minimize the risk of stings.
  2. Diseases and pests: Bees can be vulnerable to various diseases and pests, including mites, viruses, and bacterial infections. These can have significant impacts on bee colonies, leading to reduced honey production or even colony collapse. It is important to monitor hives regularly and take appropriate measures to prevent and treat diseases and pests.
  3. Weather conditions: Extreme weather conditions, such as drought or cold temperatures, can affect the health and productivity of bee colonies. It is important to ensure that hives are appropriately sheltered and provided with adequate food and water.
  4. Environmental hazards: Bees can be affected by environmental hazards such as pesticide exposure, pollution, and habitat loss. It is important to be aware of these hazards and take appropriate measures to protect bee colonies and promote healthy environments for bees.
  5. Legal requirements: Beekeeping may be subject to local, state, or national regulations, such as registration or inspection requirements. It is important to be aware of these requirements and comply with them.

While beekeeping can be a rewarding and enjoyable activity, it is important to be aware of the potential risks and take appropriate measures to mitigate them. By following best practices and staying informed about the latest developments in beekeeping, beekeepers can help ensure the health and productivity of their hives and contribute to the well-being of bee populations worldwide.

Last update on 2024-02-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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