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LEARN: 3. Tips for Success

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3.5 Mason Bee Mud Source

3.5 Mason Bee Mud Source

Our spring mason bees use moist clayey mud to build protective walls between their nesting chambers.

Clayey Mud is Vital

Moist clayey mud is so vital to our mud-using spring mason bees that they won’t nest in your yard if they can’t find a mud source near their bee house. Female mason bees carry a mud ball in their large mandibles (jaws) and they are looking for a clayey mud with a texture similar to play dough.

During the mason bee nesting season, your clayey mud source must remain moist so that mason bees can gather and use the clayey mud. Follow our tips below to help you make sure that the clayey mud is moist and usable while the bees are nesting.

Test Your Soil for Clayey Mud

Look for naturally occurring clay by opening a hole in the ground with a trowel or shovel within about 25 feet of your bee house. Make a hole that has vertical walls so that the water in the ground will provide moisture and the bees can find moist mud throughout the day. Add water to the soil and look for a texture that sticks together when wet and pinched, like dough or clay. If you found clayey mud just remember to add some water during dry periods while the mason bees are nesting.

Add Mason Bee Mud Mix

If your wet soil test crumbles, add our Mason Bee Mud Mix to the vertical hole in the ground. Simply open the bag of Mason Bee Mud Mix and slowly add water to the bag, kneading the dry mix and water together until it feels like clay. Add the kneaded mix along one vertical wall of the hole in the ground, this gives the bees a choice of mud with the right moisture throughout the day. Make sure that the clayey mud is moist and usable throughout mason bee flying season.

Mason Bee Mud Box

For arid locations, fast draining soil, and rooftop gardens, or if you struggle to keep your clayey mud moist throughout the day, our Mason Bee Mud Box is the solution. Water is stored in the bottom of the mud box and is wicked up a capillary cloth to the lump of Mason Bee Mud Mix (included). Follow the instructions for setting up the mud box, locating the mud within about 25 feet of the bee house and provide it with some shade. You can close the lid or leave it open, there are four access holes for the bees to come and go as they gather mud.

Pro tip: Do not put mud mix or wet dirt into a bowl. The mud will either dry out quickly or remain too wet. A vertical hole in the ground will connect the mud to water underground and the bee can find the right kind of mud throughout the day.


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