attracting wild pollinators mason bees

A chair with a buzz

The Adirondack chair, below, is in my yard. A close-up of one of the screw holes shows that a mason bee decided it was a good place to lay her eggs. A seal of mud now protects the eggs that are laid in individual compartments, end-to-end inside the hole. The fact that I provided perfectly good mason bee houses–carefully built to meet all specifications–was apparently lost on the female who chose this spot.

I probably wouldn’t have noticed this nest, except that I was sitting in that chair when it started to buzz. The chair, that is. I was really surprised when the little mason bee popped out of the side (under the arm) because she made a lot of noise. I decided to leave it alone–it’s a small nest and a big chair. There’s plenty of room for all of us.


Adirondack chair with a buzz.


Home sweet home.

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  • Wow, those mason bees certainly have their own agenda. The chair is so pretty, I would have chosen that for my babies, too.

  • Thank you, Jess! Actually there are two chairs, and each has two really deep holes in the wood holding up the arms. That’s a total of four holes, three of which were used by the masons. Maybe I should paint the mason bee houses green. Hmmm, I hadn’t thought of that.

  • It’s the same as buying a cat a cute toy. The cat will find a balled up piece of paper – or something similar – far more entertaining than the toy.

  • A lot of nice sentiment girls but how about some practical knowledge. Looks as if the chair was painted after the nesting. Also are you saying the hole required no excavating on the part of the bee? Can you show a picture of the hole not used by the bees? What is the actual diameter and at what angle from the horizontal? Sure would appreciate your comments as I have found they prefer to excavate rather than accept a pre-drilled hole.

    • Jori,

      The chair was painted before the nesting. This nest belongs to a mason bee and mason bees do not drill holes, they only use holes they find. Or they use hollow reeds. Other bees, such as carpenter bees, will drill holes, but this species does not.

      If you want to drill holes for mason bees use a 5/16″ drill bit and drill parallel to the ground. I have written several posts about mason bees. You can use the search engine on the home page (Search HBS) and type in mason bee or you can start with this article:

      There are over 4000 species of bees in North America, and they have a wide range behaviors, requirements, and life cycles.

  • Would mason bees and honey bees share the same infrastructure?

    Let’s say a kinda regular beehive that contains holes on the outside for the masons?