We are accepting pre-orders for spring 2020 for our amazing mason bees. These bees are fantastic pollinators.
You can get 50 bees for $50. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need more. They are $1/bee after the first 50.
What are Mason Bees?
As solitary bees (as opposed to bees that live in hives), mason bees build nests separately and only live a one-year cycle. The blue orchard mason bee, Osmia lignaria, is native to North America and metallic blue in color. Osmia cornifrons, the hornfaced bee, is a species originally from Japan with similar behaviors, and is now naturalized throughout the Eastern US (and more recently, many Western states as well).
What do they do for my ecosystem?
Mason bees focus their pollination upon fruit crops, but will visit other plants as well. They emerge from hibernation – depending on the weather – in early spring, and mate and nest through mid-summer. Typically, they emerge earlier than most other pollinators, and are therefore able to pollinate plants other bees do not get to.
But will they produce honey/wax/any other product I can use?
No. Mason bees are not honey bees: they don’t aggregate in social swarms, they do not build their own shelter out of wax and they do not convert nectar into honey. Their primary function in an ecosystem is to pollinate like crazy!
Then why would I want to buy them?
Much of the native bee population in urban spaces has been obliterated through habitat destruction and contact with pesticides, with the result that many plants go under-pollinated, thereby producing less food for the people. Additionally, many of the companies rearing mason bees sell them to monocropped fruit plantations, which often do not have the diversity of food sources necessary to truly nourish pollinator populations.
Cultivating native bee habitat and populations is thus an essential element in our society’s transition from industrial agriculture to localized, regenerative healthy food systems. Your participation in our business works to support both the ecosystemic recovery of the Cascadia bioregion as well as the economic health of a local worker collective and community.