Mason bees are some of the most common and important pollinators in North America. There are about 200 species of mason bees worldwide, and 140 of those species can be found in North America. Mason bees get their name from the mud or “masonry” material they use to construct their nests.
In the United States, two of the most commonly used mason bee species are the Blue Orchard Bee (Osmia Lignaria) and the Hornfaced Bee (Osmia Cornifrons). Both of these species are cavity nesting bees that use round nesting holes that are the same size. Mason bees are important pollinators because they help to pollinate many different types of plants. In fact, they can be up to five times more effective at pollinating than honeybees.
The Blue Orchard Mason Bee and the Hornfaced Mason Bee are two amazing pollinators that work together to enrich our ecosystem. These bees are incredibly important to our food supply, and they play a vital role in keeping our ecosystem and crops healthy.
Both of these bees look very different from one another, but they both serve an important purpose. The Blue Orchard Bee is similar to a housefly in appearance, and it has a blue-green sheen to its body. The Hornfaced Bee is a fuzzy brown bee with stripes. Both are non-aggressive bees and co-exist peacefully. They both are incredible pollinators who work hard to pollinate and enrich habitat.
Osmia Lignaria are native to North America. Similar to the honeybee that was imported from Europe to help pollinate crops, the Osmia Cornifrons was introduced from Japan and is now an established bee in North America.
At Rent Mason Bees, we are required to follow guidelines from the Orchard Bee Association (OBA) and send Lignaria to the west coast and Cornifrons to the mid-west and east coast. However, because Hornfaced bees are now established, you may start seeing more of them in your west coast gardens. When you return your blocks to us in the fall, we separate the blocks and harvest all the cocoons by region so that the following spring you get the bee designated for your area.