Our Mason Bees did an amazing job this year! We have a huge amount of apples and more then our fair share of pears. I'm giving full credit to our hard working Mason Bees, they took our fruit trees from flowers, to fruit:
How Mason Bees help and why we need them:
Mason Bees pollinate at an amazing rate thanks to their fuzzy bellies. Regular Honey Bees operate at a 10% efficiency rate of spreading pollen . . . Mason Bees efficiency rate of pollination is over 90%! A single female can land on 2000 blossoms a day!
Our tiny little apple tree is overloaded with apples and our pear tree (which produced no pears last year) has well over 30 this year!
We Need Bees!
Mason Bees are seriously easy to take care of, really they're no work at all . . . once a year you replace the old cardboard tubes with new ones! No bee suits, no smoke! You don't even need the cardboard tubes. You could just drill holes in wood and they can use that, we choose to use inexpensive cardboard tubes ($10 lasts us 3 years) we just replace them each year. Keeping the hive a bit cleaner then a hive with no cardboard tubes.
You get 4-6 weeks of bee activity starting about half way through March and ending around the beginning of May. Then they die and their eggs hatch and come out next spring!