A couple weeks ago, I was noticing a lot of bees flying around my back porch. I thought a honey bee colony was making a hive in some bamboo. Having taken those honey bee classes two years ago, I knew there were always beekeepers looking to collect hives. I emailed Steve, the teacher of my class, and described the situation, asking if he knew anyone who could help.
He called me. After he asked me for another description, he said they were mason bees. I told him I thought mason bees looked like bumble bees. He said those were carpenter bees. Carpenter bees look like bumble bees and chew holes in wood and are undesirable. Mason bees look like honey bees and find pre-drilled holes to live in and are very desirable. They are desirable because they’re excellent pollinators and because they are so docile. They won’t sting unless you squeeze them. Many garden catalogs even sell mason bee houses.
Steve said they have a short active period. They collect pollen, lay eggs, spin cocoons and wait until next spring. He was right: they’re already dormant now. He said I could even move the screen around with them sleeping inside. I don’t think I will.