Mason Bee Frequency Asked Questions

Frequency Asked Questions

Are Red Mason Bees safe with children and pets?

The Red Mason Bee is not at all aggressive. The male does not have a sting, a female will sting only if very roughly handled between the fingers and even then, the sting is a puny thing compared to a wasp or honeybee. This means it is quite safe for you and your children to observe these fascinating bees as closely as you please.

Are Mason bees the same as "masonry" bees and can they damage my walls?

They are called "mason" bees as they collect mud as a building material, which they mould to form nest structures. The Red Mason Bee does often nest in pre-existing holes in soft mortar, but does not actually excavate these cavities. This species uses pre-existing cavities such as hollow plant stems and beetle borings in dead wood.

Will building up populations of the Red Mason Bee, threaten other bees?

No and for a number of reasons:

  • It is active for no more than 10-12 weeks in the year, whereas the social bumblebees and honeybee are active for 8-9 months.
  • It is active in spring, when bumblebee colonies have not yet built up the colonies to full size.
  • Bumblebees and Red Mason Bees tend to visit different flowers.
  • Bumblebees and honeybees need to collect and store large amounts of nectar in the form of honey, whereas Red Mason Bees stores only pollen, slightly moistened with a very little nectar.
  • Many of the smaller solitary bees are mainly active towards the end of the Red Mason Bee's nesting period, with their peak of activity in mid-late summer.

How can I be sure that Red Mason bees will find and use my nests?

If you follow the instructions which come with the nest kit, they will find them. Their natural nest sites, hollow plant stems and beetle borings in dead wood, are not evenly distributed in the environment, especially in gardens. Thus, nest-seeking females in spring have simply got to be good at finding a scarce resource!

Once a female has started to use your nest kit, others will soon follow: they seem to be attracted to the activities of other females.

Female Red Mason Bee feeding on Borage Flowers
Female Red Mason Bee feeding on Borage Flowers


Pictures and information provided by the Oxford Bee Company.
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