mason bees

Does anyone here encourage bees (mason bees) to live in your yards? If so, why, and have you notice a difference between when bees weren't hanging out locally, and when they were?
thanks,
Tom
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I haven't paid much attention, but my fruit trees pollinated very well this year so I have to assume some are in the area or some other species which pollinate fruit trees. Have you had a problem with pollination this year?
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On Sat, 8 May 2004 12:35:28 -0500, "RoyDMercer"

I have no fruit trees, but I have flowing trees, and flowers. I heard that having regular polinating creatures around will give healther and healther flowers.
How would you know find out about pollination problems, low fruit yields?
thx,
tom
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this
year?
I don't see how bees would help with that. Pollinization happens AFTER the plant has produced flowers. Many repeat blooming plants that fail to pollinate will produce more flowers as a natural reaction to increase its chances to reproduce. If a plant successfully pollinates, it will devote more of its energy to the rest of the reproduction cycle and less to producing more blooms. This is part of the reason why it's a common practice to deadhead old blooms. When you deadhead old blooms, you frustrate the plant's attempt to reproduce and invoke a natural reaction to produce more blooms.
So actually the reverse is true in the instance of most repeat bloomers. If the plant doesn't pollinate, it will be more likely to produce more blooms.
Usually when people are concerned about mason bees, they are trying to get fruits trees to produce so I assumed that's what you were after. Personally I just like to see them around for no other reasons than they are fun to watch, docile, and they drive my wife crazy. We used to raise honey bees when I was a kid.

You might be able to find out from the coop extension office for your county.
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On Sun, 9 May 2004 03:17:10 -0500, "RoyDMercer"

I too heard that bees were good to keep you flowers happy and blooming, and mason bees being so docile, they were cool for even kids to watch.
Once someone said by also introducing doctile bees into an area, yhou will help to displace unwanted insects like wasps, bumble bees. But I'm guessing this is made up.
Thanks for your reply,
tom
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Most wasps eat other insects (including bees). You can attract mason bees by taking a piece of 2x4 and drilling several 3/16" holes into the wood (deeply but not all the way through). Nail the 2x4 vertically to a fence or building. This is how commercial orchards attract them. I have some hedges in the front of my house that will be blooming in a week or two. The mason bees love them and they will be all over them during this time. I forgo keeping my hedges trimmed during this time so they bloom well. The bees make my wife go apey and it's fun to watch her as much as the bees. I was raised around bees so they don't bother me in the least.
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On Sun, 09 May 2004 11:30:22 -0500, RoyDMercer wrote:

I would suggest that you use a 4X4 or even a 6X6 piece of NoN-treated wood. Pine, fir or cedar is best. I would also suggest that you drill serveral holes of different sizes from 9/32 to 5/16 in size about a 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch apart. The term "mason bee" is a catch all for a range of solitary bees that live around you. These bees will be of differing sizes and with the varied hole sizes you'll get a broader collection of bees. The different bees will emerge at different times and will give you a bit of a longer season to enjoy your bees. With a few blocks, you'll soon see which hole sizes are best for your area and that will direct you in the furture when making new blocks. I was told to scorch the block's front to make the block more atractive to the bees. This may or maynot be true. Both my blocks filled up. Here's a good link: http://www.pollinatorparadise.com/Solitary_Bees/SOLITARY.HTM
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I found an excellent example on this web page: http://www.birdcrossstitch.com/garden/Journal.html
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