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Fascinating Video on Mason Bees – PBS Digital Studios

PBS made this mesmerizing video about the blue orchard mason bee using macro photography and microscopy in 4K resolution. It will teach you the difference between honeybees and solitary bees, show you the inside of a nesting tube and show you close ups of these incredible pollinators like you’ve never seen before.

BEE AMAZED:
•DO NOT STING – Mason bees are non-aggressive and don’t sting.
•BELLY FLOPPERS – Mason bees BELLY FLOP onto flowers and get pollen all over their bodies.
•ONE OF NATURE’S BEST POLLINATORS –Mason bees pollinate 95% of the flowers they land on.
•HARD WORKERS – Mason bees visit up to 2,000 flowers a day.
•HELP HONEYBEES – The stressful workload that is placed on honeybee colonies is reduced when they work alongside solitary bees.
•SOLITARY BEES – They work by themselves, find their own food, build their own nest and lay eggs

Mason bees are easy to host with practically zero maintenance during spring and summer months and they have no hive to maintain. For solitary bees, fall is the most important season to take care of your bees. For those who want to support solitary bees and pollinate their yards, but not worry about the fall cleaning process of all the mason bee cocoons, sterilizing the nesting blocks and storing safely over winter, you can rent bees from us. We will clean all the evasive predators off your bees, help promote the health of our solitary bee populations and help farmers make more food.

How to Host Mason Bees? If you’re interested in helping mason bee populations, please check out our website for more information about hosting bees. We provide mason and leafcutter bee kits to pollinate your yard during Spring and Summer months.

Thank you for supporting solitary pollinators! Enjoy the video!

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Janet Chu says

    Very interesting and inviting. Great photography. Good luck and may we have even more of these grand Mason bees.
    Jan

  2. Karen Oliver-Paull says

    We used to have bees like this until the developers flatten the woods behind our house in full summer destroying all sorts of animal habitats. 😢

    • Morgan Dunn says

      I’m so sorry to hear that! You can try to re-introduce them after the area is somewhat restored and replanted. All they really need to thrive is flowers, wet clay-like soils and a place to nest!

  3. Susan says

    I loved it. We need more videos all kinds of bees out there. People need to see the importance of bees. Thank you

  4. Jeanette says

    I would like to understand how the bees at the back of the nest get out if the bees along the rest of the tube are still there, not ready yet. It seems like the bee at the back would have a lot more trouble getting out.

    • Thyra McKelvie says

      Fantastic question. I’ll let our bee biologist, Morgan Dunn, answer this one:
      “Male bees are biologically wired to emerge before the females. The male eggs are laid towards the front entrance of the nest, so as not to disturb the later emerging females which are laid towards the back of the nest. Still, no doubt some mortality or struggle occurs because bees emerge at different times (or not at all) inside of a linear nest. We clean out our nests each year, and so, our bees are released as “loose” cocoons inside of an emergence tube where they have plenty of space to crawl around.

      To go a little further… Mother bees do have some level of control over the sex of their offspring. In bees (and also wasps and ants), fertilized eggs become females and unfertilized eggs become males. A mother bee can “choose” to fertilize an egg as it is laid, using a specialized reproductive organ that stores sperm.”

  5. Sue says

    This is fascinating. Id never heard about these Blue Orchard bees before. Do these bees adapt and seek the food source from any flowering plant? The area I live in western Washington has lots flowering species, just not the orchard type.

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Bee Amazed

Mason bees
visit up to
2,000
flowers a day
400 Mason bees
do the work of
40,000
honey bees
One Mason bee
block can hold
500
eggs
Farmers
release
1,000
bees per acre
to pollinate their
crops