Like carpenter bees, mason and orchard bees nest in holes. Contrarily, these bees cannot burrow themselves so they seek out existing cavities including disused Carpenter bee tunnels. Physically, Mason and orchard bees are metallic green or blue. Personally I think they look like a bee-shaped fly.
Also unlike carpenter bees, mason bees serve a definitive and a primary role in pollination which is being discovered and integrated even in the industrial side of food production. They are one of the first bees to become active in the spring and are being integrated into orchard systems to provide pollination for plants that bloom very early. As cultivated pollinators, they are kept both exclusively and to supplement honeybee pollinations.
Mason bees are a great candidate to get kids involved in the conservation efforts or for people who want to keep pollinators in an urban area where honeybees may not be allowed. They are extremely shy and won’t attack in defense. Only in extreme danger will females use their egg guide as a stinger and the result like a mosquito bite!
While honeybees will travel miles to forage, mason bees will only travel a maximum of 300 feet. Coupled with their peaceful disposition, mason bees can be kept right in the home garden or orchard.
Providing Mason Bee Habitat
Simply take some scrap untreated wood and use a 5/16th inch bit to drill holes into, but not through the wood. Angle the drill bits upward slightly so rainwater cannot run into the hole and add some sort of roof.
Just mount the bee house on the south side of a wall, hedge, building, fence etc. and you are officially a friend of the mason bees!