Working with Native Pollinators
The Friends of Portland Community Gardens (portlandcommunitygardens.org) are selling Mason Bee houses and cocoons as a fundraiser for the organization and to fund its ongoing program of donating mason bee houses and bee cocoons to every City of Portland community garden. At present there are 57 community gardens with more to be developed in the near future.
For a cost of $70, you receive: a cedar Mason Bee house, reusable cocoon nesting trays (no need to use expensive bee tubes), approximately 80 cocoons (which cost over $1.60 each from local nurseries), two seminars on mason bees (one in March on caring for your bees, and one in the fall for harvesting the cocoons), and ongoing assistance if you have questions.
If you join Friends of Portland Community Gardens, you get 20% off of the $70 price and discount coupons for Portland Nursery and Concentrates nursery/farm store.
Mason bees are native to the Pacific Northwest. They are different from honey bees in that they don’t produce honey, build a hive, or have a queen bee. They are solitary bees. They pollinate flowers much more efficiently than honey or bumble bees. With the focus of their activity in the spring, they are important pollinators for fruit and nut trees and all spring flowering plants.
The female bee lays her eggs in holes found in nature or a bee house. She walls off each egg with mud, from which their name derives. The larvae spin a cocoon around themselves from which the adult bees hatch in the spring, generally April. Only female mason bees have a stinger and it’s rare for them bee to sting someone.
To order: contact Allen at email@example.com.