Adding Native Bees to Your Garden

by Stephanie Suesan Smith on February 19, 2015

mason bees

Photo by Stephen Goddard

Did you know that one out of every three bites of food we eat is pollinated by a bee?  When we think of bees, we think of European honey bees.  However, there are over 4,000 species of native bees in this country.  One of the most important native bees if the Mason bee.

Mason bees are gentle, solitary bees that are super pollinators.  They don’t make honey, so they spend all their energy on pollinating fruits, vegetables, nuts and flowers.  More importantly, mason bees are easy to raise and are much more efficient pollinators than are honey bees.  To pollinate a 100 fruit trees, it would take 25,000 honey bees or 400 mason bees.

Crown Bees is on a mission to expand the use of native bees by building a network of “Bee Boosters” that raises, harvests, and shares millions of gentle native bees in backyards, communities, and farms across North America.  Their goal is to take the pressure off honey bees, increase awareness of gentle, native bees, and diversify the bees that pollinate our food.

Crown Bees is starting a Bee Booster program.  They invite you to participate by doing the following:

  • Put up a mason bee house for mason bees to use and lay their eggs.  Of course, Crown Bees hopes you will buy their mason bee house complete with mason bee eggs already in it, but mason bee houses are easy to make.
  • Donate mason bee houses to community gardens, public parks, zoos, botanical gardens, and local farmers to increase native pollinators.
  • Share links on social media about mason bees and how they ensure food security.  Use #BeeBoosters #MasonBees @CrownBees
  • Donate to the CrownBees campaign.  They are trying to raise $100,00 on an Indiegogo fund to fund the redesign of Bee with Me, a social network that connects and maps Bee Boosters across the country.

If you hang a couple of mason bee houses in your yard, then give one away when it is full of eggs, you can help spread these gentle bees.  If you do not know anyone who wants them, you can send them to CrownBees and they will rehome the mason bees for you.

Gardenbookfrontcoverthumbnail For more help gardening, buy my book, Preparing A Vegetable Garden From The Ground Up
Available in print or ebook from or other retailers, this book walks you from choosing the site of your garden all the way through what to do after the harvest. Buy a copy for yourself or a friend today!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathy March 16, 2015 at 11:16 pm

Would they co-exist with honey bees?


Stephanie Suesan Smith March 17, 2015 at 3:30 pm

Yes, mason bees do not compete with honeybees. They will coexist with each other fine.


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