Mason Bees (Osmia lignaria and Osmia cornifrons) prefer to live in hollow plant stems that are 5/16″ in diameter (about the width of a pencil) and six inches long to produce the best male-female sex ratio. We have worked with a local carpenter to design a premium bee cottage (i.e., considerable roof overhang, 50 harvestable 6 inch nesting tubes, painted blue) so that you will be able to easily deploy your cocoons and have long term success. Bee cottages are painted blue as nest box color improves nest recognition and thus improves bee productivity. Artz et al. (2014) found that the Blue Orchard Mason Bee laid 1.4 and 2.6 times more females in nest boxes that were light blue compared to the orange-colored and yellow-colored nest boxes, respectively. As mason bees prefer to nest in cottages with 100 or fewer cavities per box (Artz et al 2014, Artz et al 2013), our mason bee cottages are designed to hold 50 to 75 hollow plant stems. Mason bee cottages can be purchased at our store in Cutchogue. Replacement hollow plant stems can be purchased in person or online.
Artz, D. R., Allan, M. J., Wardell, G. I., and T.L. Pitts-Singer. 2014. Influence of nest box color and release sites on Osmia lignaria (hymenoptera: Megachilidae) reproductive success in a commercial almond orchard. J. Econ. Entomol. 107: 2045–2054.
Artz, D. R., M. J. Allan, G. I. Wardell, and T. L. Pitts-Singer. 2013. Nesting site density and distribution affects Osmia lignaria (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae) reproductive success and almond yield in a commercial orchard. Insect Conserv. Divers. 6: 715-724