[NAFEX] Mason Bee Site and Plans

Lon J. Rombough lonrom at hevanet.com
Mon Nov 26 20:54:46 EST 2007

When I drilled the plastic lumber, the plastic was actually porous 
inside.  I could see lots of holes in the walls.  I think that had to 
do with the thickness of the "lumber" (4x4) because there were fewer 
holes when I drilled the 2x4's and they were only near the core of the 
board.  I suspect the thicker material cools differently, leaving more 
holes and pores inside, while the thinner stuff remains more solid.  
I've become lax with them now because I find the bees everywhere.  They 
put nests in any hole they find now, in posts, tree limbs, etc.  I 
haven't tended the "housing" because of it - there are more than enough 
bees around.
-Lon Rombough
Grapes, writing, consulting, my book, The Grape Grower, at 
http://www.bunchgrapes.com  Winner of the Garden Writers Association 
"Best Talent in Writing" award for 2003.
For even more grape lessons, go to  http://www.grapeschool.com
For all other things grape,   http://www.vitisearch.com

On Nov 25, 2007, at 9:11 PM, derry&bill wrote:


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.

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