Mason bee houses are an ideal way to attract pollinators to your garden. Bee boxes for mason bees (also called orchard mason bees) contain several tubes or tunnels where the busy flying insects lay eggs, hatch, spin cocoons, and transform into adult bees. The best mason bee houses include various cylindrical tubes to attract these metallic blue or green-winged insects.
This article is a review of the best mason bee houses to place in your garden. At the end of the review, you’ll find helpful advice on caring for mason bee boxes.
Overview of the Best Mason Bee Houses
Mason Bee Houses for the Garden
1. Bambeco Mason Bee Barn
One of the best mason bee houses is the large bee box by Bambeco. The Eco-friendly bee barn is made from bamboo and contains everything you need to attract orchard mason bees. The tunnels are 5.5” (14 cm) deep, so ideal for creating the perfect home for bees. The mason bee house contains bamboo nesting tubes and trays.
- Large size to house plenty of mason bees
- It comes with stack able bee tube trays
- The bamboo tubes can be uneven and don’t always fit well
Standout feature: Excellent design with a variety of nesting options for bees.
2. KIBAGA Mason Bee House
The Kibaga bee house is the best budget bee nest currently for sale. The cylindrical bee house is made from high-quality wood and contains sixty nesting tubes. Thanks to the rope attachment, the nesting house is easy to install almost anywhere in your garden.
- Attractive design
- Easy to hang on fruit trees to increase pollination
- It may be too small for professional beekeepers
Standout feature: This is a visually appealing mason bee home for a reasonable price.
3. Rivajam Mason Bee House Refillable Nesting Box
This well-designed mason bee house by Rivajam is an excellent choice to attract pollinators to your garden. The bee home is made from durable pine and features a full roof with an overhang. The best feature is the replaceable cardboard nesting tubes. This feature allows you to replace them every year to keep your bee box clean.
- Cardboard paper inserts are ideal for nesting tubes
- Easy to replace individual tubes
- You can unwind the tubes to take out bee cocoons without damaging them
- Relatively small
Standout feature: Replaceable cardboard tubes for easy bee house maintenance
4. Homestead Essentials Native Mason Bee and Leafcutter Bee House
The Homestead Essentials mason bee home is easy to mount on walls to attract many mason bees. The high-quality, large-capacity bee home has several nesting options to suit native orchard mason bees. The bee hotel also attracts other beneficial insects such as ladybugs and butterflies.
- Excellent craftsmanship
- Super-large size
- Attracts multiple species of beneficial insects
- Difficult to clean and replace the bamboo nesting tubes
Standout feature: Well-designed mason bee hotel to house a large population.
5. Skoolix Blue Orchard Mason Bee Hotel
The Skoolix mason bee kit has an attractive house design and appeals to a wide range of pollinators. The hanging rope means that you can hang this from fruit trees to encourage pollination. An excellent feature of this mason bee house is that it has replaceable nesting tubes designed for a wide range of pollinators.
- Made from Eco-friendly materials
- Replaceable tubes
- Unique design and suitable for various winged insects
- The red door is an ingenious design to attract beneficial pollinators
- Impractical for a large mason bee population
Standout feature: Excellent design and easy to hang near nectar-rich plants.
6. SkyMall Mason and Leafcutter Bee House
The mason bee house by SkyMall is an attractive, well-designed nesting kit for solitary bees. The nesting options for mason bees are stacking trays that are easy to open to inspect or clean. To attract solitary mason bees, the holes in the bee house are the ideal size. Additionally, the design of the mason bee kit means that it protects bees in all weather.
- Uniform hole sizes for mason bees
- Easy to clean stacking trays
- Suitable for use year after year
- More expensive than other bee houses
Standout feature: Sturdy design and ideally suited for attracting mason bees.
Where to Place Bee Houses in Gardens
The best location for placing a mason bee house is on the sunny side of your property. Mason bees become active in early spring when the temperature is at least 55°F (13°C). The best place for a bee box is about 7 ft. (2.1 m) off the ground or under the eaves. Also, pick a place protected from high winds.
How to Care and Maintain A Mason Bee Hotel
It’s vital to keep mason bee houses clean. The best time to clean them is between October and December, when the adults in the cocoon are fully formed. Gently remove the plastic tray or tubes and pry the cocoons out with a small stick. Carefully set the cocoons aside—remember adult bees are hibernating inside.
Make a weak 5-percent bleach solution (1 tablespoon bleach to 1 gallon of water) with cool water. Clean the wooden blocks to remove germs and bacteria. It is usually best to buy new nesting material every second year.
Soak the cocoons for 10 minutes, and then rinse them under cold water. Put them on a paper towel to dry for an hour. Put in a container with air holes and store in a dark, cool place that is less than 39°F (4°C).
How to Attract Mason Bees to Your Bee House
Attract mason bees to your bee box by installing the nest in a sunny location near a food source and mud. Ideally, the mud source should be no more than 50 feet (15 m) from the bee house. Also, ensure that nectar-rich flowering plants and fruit trees are within a 300-foot (90 m) radius.
What to do With Mason Bee Houses During Winter
You can over the winter keep mason bee boxes in a cool, dark place from late fall until early spring. An unheated garage or shed can be an ideal place to store bee homes during winter. If you harvest the cocoons, you can remove them from the nest, rinse them, and keep them in a suitable place for releasing the following spring.
Top tip for caring for mason bees: Always keep temperatures below 40°F (4.4°C) because mason bees emerge from cocoons when it’s 50°F (10°C).
Do Mason Bee Houses Work?
Mason bee houses are ideal for giving the beneficial flying insects a place to nest and lay eggs. You can buy mason bee houses online or make your own from a block of wood with holes drilled in it, thick paper straws, or hollow reeds.