What’s so great about Orchard Mason Bees?
Our native Orchard Mason Bees are incredibly efficient pollinators of spring fruits and flowers. Here are some other traits that make them very special:
- Working on the final mud cap.
- They are called Orchard Mason Bees because they are excellent pollinators of orchard fruits, and use mud like mortar to partition their nesting spaces.
- They are shiny, metallic blue-green and a bit smaller than honey bees (about 1/2” long).
- They have a fuzzy, white face patch and long curved antennae if they’re male, and a black face with short, pointed antennae if they’re female.
- A emerging male with long antennae and fuzzy white face.
- They are not capable of burrowing their own holes, so they nest in cavities that they find in bark crevices, hollow stems of pithy twigs, or tunnels formed by wood-boring insects.
- They have a laid-back personality and are classified as solitary (they work alone) but gregarious (they like to nest near each other).
- They are not aggressive at all since they don’t have a Queen or honey to defend. Only the females have stingers (really ovipositors for egg laying) and they almost never sting, even when handled.
- Her fuzzy body easily collects pollen.
- They don’t make honey or wax. They gather nectar and pollen only as a food source for themselves and their offspring.
- They are very efficient cross-pollinators of spring fruits and plants because they tend to move from tree to tree.
- They are such efficient pollinators that it would take more than 100 honey bees to match one female OMB’s productivity.