- What type(s) of bee should I rent?
- Choose Kit Type
- Reserve a kit
- Pick up your kit
- Choose a spot
- Enjoy their work
- Return the kit
WHAT TYPE(S) OF BEE SHOULD I RENT?
Many yards can host solitary bees, even if you don’t grow a garden. Both mason bees and leafcutter bees are “generalist pollinators” This means they are not picky on where they find pollen and nectar. They just need to be in a yard that has some open flowering during the time they are flying.
For mason bees, this means flowers in the spring time. Mason bees fly during April and May so they will be foraging on plants like fruit trees, berry bushes, and many native shrubs and herbs that flower in the spring time. Mason bees have favorite blossoms such as fruit trees like apples and pears and native Pacific Northwest plants like the big leaf maple. The bees will also forage on dandelions, chickweed, and other flowers plants often found in our backyards and greenbelts.
For leafcutter bees, that means flower in the summer time. If you grow a vegetable garden, or maybe just a few tomatoes in pots, the bees will be happy. Leafcutter bees will also love your herb plants that have flowers along with many other types of summer flowering plants. If you are unsure if your yard can host bees, consult this short check list of what the bees need.
PLANT LIST TO GIVE YOU A GOOD IDEA OF WHAT THE BEES WILL FORAGE ON:
CHOOSE YOUR RENTAL KIT
We offer different types of kits you can have mailed to your home or office. If you would like to host bees for the spring and summer, rent our pollinator package that includes both mason bees and leafcutter bees. You also have the option of receiving just mason bees or just leafcutter bees by mail. Each kit contains everything you need to host the bees: a hangable house, nesting block, and bees. We’ll also include a packet of bee-friendly flower seeds for your garden along with a bag of clay for your mason bees.
If you are picking up your bees in person, we offer mason bee kits in 3 different sizes: small, medium, and large. Typically for your first year if you live in a regular size city lot we recommend starting with a small mason bee kit.
RESERVE A KIT
Visit our online rental store. If you are new to our store, you need to sign up for a customer account. This ensures that we have your correct contact information to let you know when it is time to pick up your bees. After you create an account you will receive a confirmation email from us. Return to the Rent Mason Bees online store and add the desired size kit to your cart. If you have already rented from us and have a black house or other bee house, reserve the insert of your chosen size. We also have flower seed and bags of clay to support your mason bees. When you are done shopping, click the cart icon in the upper right to proceed to checkout. Contact [email protected] with any questions regarding signing up for an account.
PICK UP/RECEIVE YOUR KIT
When you reserve your kit by mail, you will select a ship date. We ship 1-2 day priority mail through USPS. Your package will include instructions on what to do when you receive your bee kit. We will provide a free return mailing label and box to ship the bees back. The renter will be responsible for shipping the bees back to our NW Washington State facility in September.
Bees are offered for local pick up seasonally in Washington state (end of March for mason bees; early June for leafcutter bees). A couple weeks prior to beginning of pick up window, an email will alert you of the pick up dates and locations. We will have a record of your rental at all of our location so you can come to any of our events within the scheduled time frame to pick up your bees. It is important to pick up on one of our scheduled dates otherwise, the bees don’t have a home and no refunds can be provided. As we are not affiliated with the nurseries that host us, we can not have bee boxes left at any of the locations.
PICK A LOCATION TO HANG YOUR BOX
To determine where you will hang the nesting box, look for the sunniest place to allow rays to shine on and into the house.
Good locations: South or southeast facing wall or the wall of a garage, garden shed or house. Somewhere that gets morning sun and as much sun throughout the day.
Poor locations: On a tree as they may shade the box, allow squirrels to disrupt the bees, have movement on windy days, or in total/partial shade.
ENJOY THEIR WORK
When the weather is sufficiently warm, the bees will emerge and begin visiting flowers in bloom in your yard. The plants in your yard will benefit from increased pollination. When plants are better pollinated, they can grow larger and healthier and in turn better filter our air and water. We always love hearing from the many gardeners about their increased food production. Contact us by email or facebook to share your bee experiences.
RETURN THE KIT
After 6-8 weeks of pollinating, the bees have concluded their pollination duties and life cycle. The nesting block now contains the next generation of bees in the form of eggs.
If you have received your bees by mail, you will receive email instructions in September on how to return the bees bees to our facility in NW Washington State.
If you picked up your bees in person, you will receive an email from us alerting you to the return dates and locations. When you sign up for mason bee rental you are agreeing to return the bee kit to one of our schedule return locations. Please consider your upcoming schedule when picking up your bees. It is very important that the bees are returned on time as we store them at a controlled temperature throughout the summer to protect them from predators and increase survival rates.
For any questions, contact us through the website or send an email to [email protected]