There are more than 130 species of mason bees found across North America. The mason bee gets its name from its mason-like habit of carving out sections of mud or plant fiber that is chewed into paste and using it inside their nests. These bees are most active from spring to late summer and are found in heavy forested areas.
As with many other types of bees, mason bees collect pollen. Mason bees prefer the pollen from the flowers of fruit trees. In some area, mason bees are cultivated to pollinate orchards. This particular bee is a hard worker! 2 or 3 females can pollinate the equivalent of an apple tree in one season. Mason bees are not harmful creatures. Although they have stingers, they do not attack unless they are handled and feel as though they are in serious danger. They are so non-threatening that they do not even defend their nests.
Mason bees can range from black to metallic blue or green. They are known to be good flyers, even flying in cool or rainy weather. They are attracted to hollow nests in wood and flowers but do not hollow these nests out themselves. They find nests that have been previously hollowed out by other wood boring insects. This can be soil, wood, even empty shells. Every female is fertile and constructs her own nests. Unlike many other bee species, there are no worker bees in the mason bee family. Once the female bee is finished laying her eggs, she plugs the entrance and seeks out another nest. The female bee lays the female eggs in the back of the nest and the male eggs toward the front. Once the bees are ready to leave the nest, the males emerge first and then wait on the females. Once the females come out, they mate and the males die.