The A to Z Challenge continues! In case you missed it, those of us participating will post blogs each day in April except for Sunday, with each post corresponding to a letter of the alphabet. I’m really enjoying getting acquainted with my fellow bloggers, who are posting a wide variety of interesting topics!
Some people have children. Others nurture their animal friends.
Me, I have bees.
Don’t get me wrong. I have two stepchildren whom I love, but they live far away. I’ve also known the joy of pets, but I have a husband who’s allergic and a travel schedule that makes it unfair to any animals I would leave behind.
So I have bees. Mason bees, to be exact.
I’d never heard of them until a few years ago, when our lawyer brought her husband over to our house (there are some advantages to getting sued, I guess). They live outside of town and have an orchard on their property, and he suggested I look into Mason bees for my fruit trees.
Mason bees are native to the U.S., unlike honeybees, which were imported from Europe. They look more like a fly than a bee, and they don’t live in hives. They are a docile, solitary bee that just wants to mind its own business. Kind of like me. Maybe my introverted side is drawn to a bee that happily lives alone.
Mason bees lay their eggs in holes, some of which nature provides — they prefer 3/16″ diameter, thank you. I have a little house for them with cardboard tubes of that size. When the female lays eggs, she covers the opening of the tube with a mud seal, and inside the larvae form cocoons. I was so excited last year when I had several tubes sealed in mud!
You may notice, it doesn’t take much to excite me.
We store our cocoons in a downstairs refrigerator and keep them moist over the winter. I set my cocoons out just a few days ago, because the temperatures are right and they have plenty to eat. So now I’m waiting and watching for my new babies to hatch!
Given the precarious state of the honeybee population in the country, raising Mason bees makes sense if you have a garden.
A whole community of people exists who know a whole lot more than I do. Also, the type of bee you raise will vary depending on what part of the country you live in. For more information, visit Crown Bees.