Rent Mason Bees rents two types of bees, mason bees and leafcutter bees. Mason bees are spring pollinators that fly March-May. They are done laying their eggs mid May and you mail you nesting blocks back in September when the larvae have spun a cocoon. Leafcutter bees are summer pollinators that fly in June through August when your vegetable garden is in bloom. If you’ve enjoyed hosting mason bees you may want to consider hosting leafcutter bees for the summer. The blocks are put out at different times (see our How to Swap Block Video Below). If you rented mason bees for the spring, you can use the same outer black house and rent our leafcutter insert. The leafcutter bees start inside of the nesting block and will emerge when day time temperatures are in the mid 70s F.
Leafcutter bees will construct their nests with tiny pieces of crescent shaped cut leaves or flower petals, which does not harm the plant. She will then chew it until it becomes pliable and then push it up along the walls of the cavity of her nesting chamber. She will then lay an egg and place a pollen loaf for her baby before gently wrapping up the leaf chamber and making a cozy little “sleeping bag” for her baby. This process can sometimes take her up to three hours to wrap each baby. The egg will hatch into a larva which will then consume the pollen loaf. Different than a mason bee, leafcutters do not weave a cocoon. They will over-winter in their “sleeping bag” and emerge as an adult bee the following summer.
How to Host:
Our program makes it easy to become a solitary bee host. Gardeners purchase a bee kit that comes with house, nesting block, clay and bees. You release solitary bees into your yard and rent our nesting blocks for your bees. When you release the bees into your yard they will lay babies in your natural habitat and your nesting block. Harvesting and cleaning the cocoons and blocks is a critical step when hosting solitary bees to remove harmful predators. When you rent from us we take care of the maintenance and cleaning for you. You keep the black house and return the nesting blocks back to us. The following year, you will just need to reorder an “insert” with a sterilized nesting block and clean bees.
Learn more about Leafcutter Bees:
WHEN AND HOW TO SWAP YOUR MASON BEE BLOCK FOR YOUR LEAFCUTTER BLOCK
INSIDE A MASON & LEAFCUTTER BLOCK
WATCH LEAFCUTTER BEES IN SLOW MOTION
LEARN ABOUT LEAFCUTTER BEES
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