LEARN: 1. What Are Native Bees?


1.3 Get to Know Spring Mason Bees

1.3 Get to Know Spring Mason Bees

Super Pollinators of Spring

Our spring mason bees are gentle, plump, dark-colored hole-nesting bees named after their habit of using clayey mud to build protective walls. Among the first bees to fly in cool, wet spring weather, spring mason bees are perfect for pollinating fruit and nut orchards and berry patches. Mason bees are super cross-pollinators that can double or triple your yield!

Our spring mason bees are native across North America and although they are called alternatives to honey bees, they are the original and best pollinators of spring blooming flowers. The large-scale effort to raise mason bees for orchard and farm pollination is only a few decades old. You can be a part of the mason bee revolution by raising mason bees in your backyard and participate in our BeeBuyBack program. Your extra mason bees can be shared with gardeners and farmers across the country.

Why Raise Mason Bees:

  • Grow more food like apples, almonds, pears, plums, blueberries, and strawberries.
  • Ensure or improve pollination of flowers and wild places.
  • Participate in BeeBuyBack, helping to meet the need of 1 billion mason bees for sustainable farm pollination.

Spring mason bees are very easy to raise! No protective gear needed, no hive or honey upkeep.

  1. Spring set up: 15 min
  2. Summer protection: 10 min
  3. Fall cocoon harvest: 30 min

Spring Mason Bee Characteristics:

  • Solitary, gentle, easy to raise hole-nesting bee

  • Perfect for cross-pollinating springtime open blooms

  • Carry pollen loose & dry on their hairy bellies

  • Fly only 300ft (100m) in their daily search for flowers

  • Start to fly in daytime temps of 55F/13C and above

  • Prefer 8mm sized nesting holes

  • Gather moist clayey mud for building protective nest walls

  • Larvae spin silky waterproof cocoons

  • Hibernate over the fall and winter as fully formed adult bees

  • Produce one generation per season

  • Personality: not shy and don’t mind being watched at their bee house

Identifying genders:

Male mason bees are about half the size of female mason bees and have white tufts of hair on their heads with long antennae. Female mason bees have shorter antennae and large mandibles (jaws) that they use for carrying clayey mud back to the nest.

We are mason bee raising experts with a passion for sharing our knowledge with the goals of ensuring the health of the bees and helping gardeners and farmers grow more food. Follow our mason bee raising steps and sign up for BeeMail for timely tips and reminders.

Topic Completion

What Are Native Bees?