Due to city code I am not allowed to keep honey bees. But that doesn't mean I've sworn off having bees completely. I firmly believe in doing what I can to encourage pollinators in my garden, and I figured that there's no better way to do that than to foster our own native blue orchard mason bees.
We bought them a house last year. Unfortunately the sale of our home closed after mason bee season, so we couldn't start our bee stewardship last year. The good news was that we managed to get this little chateau on sale!
Apparently mason bees can have difficulty figuring out which hole is their own, so I figured I'd add a little color to the mix to help them locate their individual apartments. Personally, I'd live in the teal row, third hobbit hole from the left.
While I was waiting for the paint to dry, I figured a little gnome surgery was in order.
We've been on a bit of a gnome killing spree lately. For some reason, every gnome that's in the house ends up shattered. I think this is their way of informing us they need to be in the wild.
So with a little love and care, our little gnome was made whole again. He has been ordained as Patron Gnome of the Bees, so I figured a little handmade bee was fitting for the situation.
All that's left to do is station the house and the gnome outside when the weather warms up.
My 20 little mason bee cocoons have arrived, and they're hanging out in the refrigerator, waiting patiently for spring. The females bees are the largest cocoons. They're about the size of a coffee bean.
I'm so excited to watch them emerge. I think they'll be a delightful addition to our little garden.
I ordered my bees from Crown Bees, a local company in Woodinville, WA. If you've ever been tempted to help our indigenous pollinators, this is the perfect time of year to do it.