Honey Bees in Bamboo

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.

You can't even tell they're there.

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6 Responses to Honey Bees in Bamboo

  1. Lauren says:

    Ha! “They don’t sting unless you squeeze them.” That is hilarious!

    So they are going to sleep until next spring? Where do I sign up for that? Looks like the only thing to remember is don’t take that screen inside.

    • Brad says:

      You can make your own mason bee house… all you do is drill holes in a block of wood. I’m sure the internet says how big the holes should be and how deep. Maybe you could do it at school. Or, bundle some bamboo sticks together like in my link on the word “sell” above.

  2. Peggy says:

    WHAT?!? You have Masons in your yard. Let the treasure hunts begin!

  3. Carol says:

    1. Will you be canning anything in those Masons?
    2. Can you identify the Grand Poobah of the Lodge? Do any of them wear that apron, or…?

  4. Peggy says:

    That is really amazing though!! Only you would put something out on the back porch & have it turn into something so cool. And I’ve been waiting for an answer all day from Lauren’s question. The bees just stay in those bamboo shoots for a whole year? Should you slip tiny snuggies down the tubes in the winter?

  5. Brad says:

    Sorry for the delay. Yes, they just sleep until next spring. That’s why they’re so great: They are super good pollinators because they collect pollen to feed their babies. They pollinate, pollinate, pollinate, then duck into a hole and sleep for 11 months. No need for Snuggies… they make their own cocoons.

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