For years people have relied on and contributed crop production/pollination to honeybees. Now, more and more farmers and homeowners are raising solitary Mason bees to do the job since they are much more efficient and effective at the job.
There are a large number of lesser known bees that also make excellent pollinators, but the Mason bee has been the easiest to raise due to its nest building habits. For some time, people have been providing nesting blocks made from a simple piece of wood with appropriate sized hole drilled in (5/16″ wide by roughly 4″-8″ deep), left up year round for nature to take its course. This is the simplest method, but not always the one that yields the greatest return of bees.
Trays are available now that resemble the old version, but can be separated and cleaned out to help rid the nesting block of pests like pollen mites and “chalk brood” – a fungus that can kill the developing bee larvae. The block below has 7 trays banded together. It can be easily separated in fall for ease of cleaning and cocoon storage.