With spring just around the corner and the trees beginning to bloom, I can’t help but start imagining the summer harvest season. The sky is blue, the weather is warm, and the fresh fruit is endless! When thinking about a tree’s summertime fruit yields and caring for a tree to set it up for success, many think about the important winter pruning season, spring mulching and thinning, and the ever-important annual finger-crossing as mother nature’s whims determine the future of the fragile blooms. However, one very important aspect to a successful growing season is pollination. Many people help encourage pollinators by planting aster, alyssum, sunflowers, or any other number of cultivars.
One of the beneficiaries of this thoughtful planting are mason bees. Mason bees are a native, non-social bee that is a perfect pollinator during the spring. These unique blue and black bees are the perfect pollinator as they are highly active during the spring and because they are not a part of a hive. As mason bees have no queen bee, they are non-aggressive and do not sting unless physically trapped. The bees do not build hives, but instead make individual nest cells in hollow bark, sand banks, or the stems of dead plants in which larvae eggs are laid.
This year, in an effort to familiarize tree owners with these super pollinators, we have partnered with a Mason Bee Farmer from Bothell to offer mason bees in Seattle to our tree owners. These rentals will come with everything needed to host mason bees. Simply set up the nest, release the mason bees, and let them go to work! Tree owners simply need to pick up their bees from one the three sites, on three different days, and then return the kits in June to the same location.