Millions of bee hotels are purchased every year, but not many people realize they require annual maintenance. The lack of proper care can unintentionally harm bee health. Failing to address this issue may result in infested bee hotels, endangering mason bee populations.
UC Davis entomologist Abigail Lehner, from the Williams Bee Lab, has observed an increase in invasive parasites through her studies. She emphasizes, “Houdini flies and pollen mites are prevalent parasites we encounter in mason bee hotels. The only way to reduce the risk is to perform an annual cleaning and sterilization of the cocoons and place new nesting material out every Spring.” Lehner stresses that, “The traditional method of using logs with holes drilled in them for nesting material is no longer suitable, and a change is necessary to properly care for mason bees.”