Include a Mason Bee House on Your Property

One example of a mason bee house. Photo credit: born1945, cc-by 2.0 

You don’t have to be a beekeeper to provide a home for bees on your property. Mason bees are a group of bees native to the U.S. They are important pollinators that nest in hollow grasses and other tubes. Mason bees get their name from the walls they build between each egg they lay in a tube. Houses for mason bees are easy to build and require maintenance only about once or twice a year.

The simplest mason bee house design, and the best for the bees, is to take a block of untreated wood and drill a bunch of 5/16 inch holes in it approximately 3-5 inches deep. You want each hole to be deep enough that birds can’t easily reach in and pull out all of the larva, but not so deep that you drill all the way through the block. You can make the block as fancy as you want including adding a roof or drilling the holes in an artistic design. Then simply attach your new mason bee house to the side of a building, a fence post, or other appropriate place in your landscape.

This article was part of Shannon’s original Kentucky Pollinators and Backyard Wildlife blog which evolved into the blog for Backyard Ecology.

Backyard Ecology: Exploring Nature in Your Backyard
Nature isn’t just “out there.” It’s all around us, including right outside our doors. Hi, my name is Shannon Trimboli, and I am the host of Backyard Ecology. I live in southcentral Kentucky and am a wildlife biologist, educator, author, beekeeper, and owner of a nursery specializing in plants for pollinators and wildlife conservation. I invite you to join me as we ignite our curiosity and natural wonder, explore our yards and communities, and improve our local pollinator and wildlife habitat. Learn more or subscribe to my email list at

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