Mason Bees and Varroa Destructor in California

October 23, 2013

Editor’s Note:  The following is a comment posted in response to the LA Cubed article, “Why Isn’t Backyard Beekeeping Legal in Los Angeles Yet?

From:  LA Cubed

If you’re concerned about local garden pollinators, you can support them by making nesting boxes for Mason bees.

Mason bees are natives and excellent pollinators, but they’re solitary bees, not social bees like honeybees – they have no queens and workers, no hives – just individual bees.  They don’t make wax or honey.

They’re not at all aggressive – they can sting, but usually only do so if you squeeze them or step on them.

They can’t crossbreed with Africanized honeybees, and they’re not susceptible to the varroa mites that are suspected as a possible cause of Colony Collapse Disorder in honeybees.

They nest in cavities made by other insects and birds – wood-boring beetles, carpenter bees, woodpeckers and such.  They don’t excavate their own nests.

You can make nest blocks for them by drilling small holes into  blocks of wood.  Easy and inexpensive.

You can buy Mason bees, but you probably won’t need to – if the nesting block is well-sited, the local natives will usually move right in.

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