Orchard mason bees emerging from cocoons. March 2014.
film & editing:: Kirsti Wakelin
music:: Light Touch | Chad Crouch
view in HD on vimeo
A few years ago I decided to boost the bee population in my garden. I starting planting a mix of pollinator-friendly plants that would bloom throughout the year, and I bought a tube of blue orchard mason bees. What started as 10 bees quickly grew into 100, and now 250 over a couple of years. This year they quickly filled an entire stacking nest block.
Mason bees are early bees, so are busy working magic on apple and pear trees long before the other bees are venturing out in significant numbers. By mid June they’re done. Their eggs are laid and their short lives (or the part of life spent outside their cocoons) are over. Even though they don’t last to pollinate later blooming berries and vegetables, the result of planting bee-friendly flowers has been an increase in the overall population and variety of bees in my garden – including European honeybees, a number of different native bumblebee species, and leaf cutter bees. The vegetable and berry crops in my garden have done well as a result.