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Early pollinators buzzing around Comox

The Town of Comox parks department has put up the mason bee nesting blocks for the season
Red Mason Bee couple (Andre Karwath/licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license)

The Town of Comox parks department has put up the mason bee nesting blocks for the season.

Mason bees are a solitary bee species native to North America. They are important early-season pollinators and are among the first bee species to break dormancy in the spring, making them especially beneficial for fruit tree pollination such as apple, plum, and cherry trees. Mason bees are also one of the few bee species being managed for agricultural use.

Mason bees begin to break dormancy when temperatures reach 13 C, usually around the end of March. The entire lifespan of a female mason bee is only six weeks, and its flight range is only 300 feet, so residents should have a good selection of early blooming flowers available in gardens before releasing bees. Nesting blocks should be sited facing east to get the morning sun and protected from wind and rain.

Mason bees are solitary nesters. They are small, non-aggressive, and rarely sting; this makes caring for mason bees an easy and rewarding educational project to take on with kids.

Sadly, native bee populations are in decline but there are many ways residents can help. Reducing the use of pesticides, planting native plants, and leaving your garden cleanup until spring are all excellent ways to help our native pollinators.

- Town of Comox

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