If you love gardening, you should love bees. After all, gardens need pollinators like bees in order to thrive. And bees, which are dying off, need pollen and nectar from plants. This spring, you can grow your garden and help increase the bee population thanks to this Washington-based company that lets you rent bees.
According to the U.S. Forest Service, mason bees are very good orchard pollinators, meaning they’ll do wonders for your fruit trees and berry bushes. Prefer a vegetable garden? You can also rent leafcutter bees, which are ideal for veggies. Along with helping to fertilize your garden, they’ll lay eggs and help boost your local bee populations. Both mason bees and leaf cutters are solitary, which means that all females are fertile, so they don’t have a queen or honey to protect. Since they’re not aggressive, you don’t have to worry about getting stung, either.
Rent Mason Bees' mason kit, which is priced $60, has everything you need to host bees in your garden. It includes 60 mason bee cocoons inside an emergence tube, a mason nesting block, a hangable wood house, a packet of flower seeds, and a bag of clay. Before setting up the house, make sure to pick an area that gets lots of sun. “The key with placement of the house is you want to find a nice sunny spot in your yard, because the bees like the morning sun to warm them up so they can start flying around for the day,” Olivia Shangrow, biologist and operations marketing manager for Rent Mason Bees, told Better Home & Gardens. After you hang the house, return the mason bee nesting block inside the house. Then take the tape off the emergence tube and set it in the box next to the nesting block.
From March to June, the bees will pollinate your yard and lay their offspring in the nesting box. In June, you’ll receive an email from Rent Mason Bees, telling you to bring the bees into your garage or basement to protect them from predators. The mason bees will be fully formed in cocoons by September, which is when you can send them back so they’ll be cared for in the winter months. After you’re done renting them, the following year, they’ll be taken to local farms to pollinate crops.
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