Mason Bee

photo by Even Dankowicz CC BY

Mason Bees are small stingless bees (.2-.8 in long) with round, wide heads and abdomens. Most are a metallic blue, green, or even purple. There are over 139 species native to North America. They are most commonly found in the west with greater species diversity in mountainous areas. They're less common in the north and in deserts.

Mason Bees are most commonly seen in spring and play an important role in pollination of spring-flowering trees and shrubs, including Apples, Cherries, Blueberries, and Raspberries. The females carry the pollen in a patch of hair on the underside of their abdomens.

Mason Bees are solitary and nest in crevices (hollow plant stems, empty snail shells, between stones), using mud to build their nests. They will often nest near each other and readily occupy artificial nest sites.

Did you know? Mason Bees spend most of their lives in their nests so protecting the nests from disturbance is important.

See Also: Bumblebee, Honey Bee, Leafcutter Bee, Miner Bee, Sweat Bee, Wasp