Re: [gardeners] In the garden - Mason Bees

Linda Baranowski-Smith (
Wed, 27 Oct 1999 23:19:15 -0400

>Hello, again.
>Another thing to learn about! What are mason bees, and why do they require
>being put in the fridge?
Hi Ron,

I think their proper name is Orchard Mason Bee, Osmia lignaria.  You can
learn more about this good natured little pollinator at the site for Knox
Cellars.  The site is <>.  Click on "products"
and it gives you the answer to your question about what they are.  I have a
little booklet here...somewhere... about their life cycle, propagation,
etc.  Think I got it from Knox Cellars several years ago.  When you run out
of ideas for gifts...the bees were a Christmas gift for my husband.

The bees are a little like "tender perennials" in our climate, so when the
temps are cooling to below freezing we have to take their houses (wooden
nesting blocks containing nesting holes) off our outside walls, put them in
a container with a damp cloth, and keep them cold (below 50 F) but at above
freezing temps.  This keeps the eggs inside their cocoon in a state of
torpor until they are again above 50 F.  We have an extra fridge in which
we keep such things as seed and mason bees.  It is my understanding that if
you don't have extended cold weather like we do, that you can just let them
"bee."  :-)

Linda in NW Ohio near Toledo/Lake Erie, USDA Zone 5