[NAFEX] Mason Bee Site and Plans

derry&bill wchase at interchange.ubc.ca
Mon Nov 26 00:11:27 EST 2007


That is very interesting.

Someone up here started making plastic condominiums a couple of years 
ago, similar grey molded plastic to the stuff used for picnic tables and 

I put one up near my others and I had terrible results. I averaged 1.26 
cocoons/6" hole. The wooden pull-aparts average a little less than 6 
cocoons/6" hole and the cardboard straws average a little more than 6 
cocoons per 6" hole.

In 2007, I had nine condominiums out averaging about 30 holes/straws per 
condo. The plastic condo had the same number of holes.

I was amazed in the beginning because the front doors were mudded almost 
instantly. I thought they'd be a huge success, but it seems the female 
Blue Orchard Bee just went in and came back out and put up a door at the 

The consensus here is that the plastic cells are too humid, but they are 
very easy to clean!

The cardboard straws seem to be favoured over the square holes in the 
pull-aparts. Someone put a (medical) mini-camera in a cardboard straw 
and found that the Blue Orchard Bee is continually turning around in the 
straw, not somersaulting, but turning around. We surmise that it is 
easier to turn around in a cylinder than in a square hole.

The Blue Orchard bee does seem to spend quite a bit of time mudding the 
corners of the square wooden holes, perhaps to make them round. This 
reduces her efficiency.

I agree that the Monodontomerus wasp can and will puncture a hole in the 
cardboard straws.

Derry Walsh
South Coastal B.C.

Lon J. Rombough wrote:
> I have used pieces of plastic 4 x 4 "lumber" made of recycled plastic.  
> It is sold for decks.  With 5/16 inch holes drilled in it, the bees like 
> it a lot.  They can clean the holes easily because of the smoothness of 
> the plastic.  

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