We all know how important bees are to flowering plants and therefore to the entire ecosystem. Many of us consume the honey that is so delicious and also possesses antibacterial and antifungal properties. However, when it comes to doing our part in preserving the bees, many of us do not want to be involved in the sting-prone and invasive process of harvesting honey from the insects. Still others find the super boxes and square wooden towers un-aesthetic in their yards. Fortunately, there is a solution for both of these types of people. Let us introduce you to mason bee houses.
The Mason Bee House FAQ
Sadly, there is a very simple answer to this question: you can't. If crystallization is going to happen, there's not really anything you can do to stop it other than pasteurizing the honey, which supposedly gets rid of all beneficial enzymes and severely decreases the vitamins and minerals found in it (which is probably why you went for the raw product anyway).
While this may seem like a bummer, you should know that your honey isn't ruined by crystallization; in fact, some people may like those little crunchy bits on their toast or bagels. However, just because you can't stop it doesn't mean you can't slow or reverse the process.
1. What Is a Mason Bee House?
Mason bee houses are structures for keeping a particular types of bees that are fond of building their hives in pre-existing structures (or masonry, hence the name). They differ from honey bee houses in that their focus is solely to provide a home for bees that happen to be excellent pollinators. This not only helps the environment, but it can save you a lot of effort in not having to manually pollinate your plants and crops.
2. What Is a Mason Bee?
Mason bees are insects in the genus Osmia and of the family Megachilidae. In the wild, they can often be found nesting inside of cinder block fences or cracks in existing buildings. They like to let other animals do part of their structural building. And you can be one such animal!
Mason bees happen to be one of the gentler types of bees, meaning they are far less likely to sting. If you get them the proper mason bee house, they will be very happy to pollinate for you. They are considered one of the best pollinators in the world.
Many people are attracted to the prospect of raising mason bees because certain mason bee houses can be used to watch the marvelous process of bees building a home for themselves.
3. Do Mason Bees Get Along With Honey Bees?
Yes, they do! In fact, many people raise both types of bees at the same time. The honey bees provide you with a lot of sweetness, and the mason bees ensure that all the flowers keep producing more flowers and thus more pollen and thus more honey. It's a highly beneficial circle that can net you many kilos of honey if you play your cards right. As long as there is enough pollen to go around, your bees will not go to war with one another. They are unlike certain species of ants this way.
4. Are Mason Bees Common or Relatively Rare?
Bees that fall inside of the mason bee category make up approximately a quarter of all bees on earth. They are not the majority, but they are a very significant percentage. Our world would look very different without this crucial twenty-five percent of bees.
5. What Additional Considerations Do Mason Bees Require Versus Honey Bees?
The big difference in choosing a mason bee house versus a honey bee house is that mason bee houses do not need removable trays to harvest honey. This means that they are often much prettier and their designs vary more from item to item. So the aesthetic component is a much bigger factor when it comes to mason bee houses.
How We Reviewed
First, we narrowed our search to those mason bee houses that can be purchased online. Many people build mason bee houses, and you may be able to find them from vendors out there. Many of these are very high in quality, however, we wanted to provide a list that our readers could easily purchase no matter what part of the world they live in.
From this list, we chose only those mason bee houses with overwhelmingly positive manufacturer reputations and reviews. To narrow it even further, we selected the top ten best mason bee houses, tried them out, and evaluated each in terms of its pros, its cons, and its price point. Many other considerations like durability and aesthetic quality were also thrown into the mix.
Overall Price Range
If you are only familiar with housing units for honey bees, you may be quite surprised to learn how cheap many of the best mason bee houses really are. Honey bee housing units can run into the hundreds of dollars, largely because they can produce multiple kilos of honey for their owner, which in turn can be sold. However, the mason bee houses tend to be much, much cheaper. You can expect to pay between fifteen and forty-five dollars for a mason bee house. On average, they cost around twenty bucks.
What We Reviewed
The Bees Waggle Mason Bee House
Bees Waggle loves providing products that encourage interest and admiration for mason bees. That is exactly what they've done with their The Bees Waggle Mason Bee House. This lovely fir wood housing structure not only provides all of the support needed for a thriving mason bee colony, it also makes it easy to watch the process of these gentle bees building their nest.
They even provide you with a BBB Seed wildflower starter mix. These flowers are open pollinators, meaning it is easy for your mason bees to draw nourishment from them. Plus, they look great in your yard or garden. The catch is that this is one of the more expensive mason bee houses on the market and it can be difficult to find in stock.
Crown Bees Mason Bee Holes Wood Tray
The Crown Bees Mason Bee Holes Wood Tray takes a much different aesthetic approach than the Bees Waggle Mason Bee House. Whereas the latter tends to look like a tiny house not unlike a cuckoo clock, the Crown Bees Mason Bee Holes Wood Tray looks more like a Japanese puzzle box. These interlocking trays are precision crafted out of Northwest alder wood that simply looks fantastic.
This bee house comes with a reusable strap that makes it easy to open and close the hive so you can monitor the process. Its viewing platforms are much more remedial than those on the The Bees Waggle Mason Bee House, but this product also costs a good bit less.
Niteangel Natural Insect Hotel Bee Bug House
The Niteangel Natural Insect Hotel Bee Bug House is a return to the cuckoo clock style of mason bee house. And for our money, it is one of the prettier mason bee houses to have around. It evokes a Swedish cabin piled high with spare firewood for the winter. These firelogs are actually ideal spaces for mason bees to live within.
You can choose between three color schemes and all of them look great. Your options are red, blue, and classic. The Niteangel Natural Insect Hotel Bee Bug House is constructed of pine wood, bamboo, and pine cones. It is additionally quite an affordable mason bee house.
Evergreen Garden Bee Habitat Wall Mounted
A stand out feature on this bee house is the craftsmanship. It is made from FSC certified wood and sealed with a non-toxic, water-based finish. Designers have considered how to make the house feel authentic for the bees, mimicking the drillings of woodpeckers. This is a great choice if you really want to increase the bee population around your house. Due to the durability and design, this bee house will last a long time.
Nature's Way CWH9 Insect House
By purchasing this bee house, you can increase pollination around your house by 20 times. The bee house comes with an easy mount set up, so it takes no time at all to put it together. Additionally, the house is made of rot resistant timber; it will last a long time. This bee house is durable and good for the environment.
Wildlife World Ltd Interactive Mason Bee House
If designs for other bee houses are not really fitting your aesthetic, then try this one on for size. The funky wood paneling on the house is even removable, for ease of viewing. It is made from certified sustainable timber and supplied to top wildlife conservation organizations. If you are looking to save the planet, then this might be a great start.
Gardener's Supply Company Mason Bee House
Gardener's Supply Company has made another wonderful bee house that is worth the money. Bees will be attracted by the house made tailored to their needs. You will have a boost in productivity in your plants, all of which is made possible by the advanced designs and materials used in this bee house.
Sanger Bee House and Insect Home
Sanger has created a bee house worthy of praise. It features an attractive design both for humans and bees. They even went the extra mile to make the house eco friendly. The bamboo material design helps to attract more bees than many other building materials. If you are looking to spruce up your garden or home exterior, then this is a great option for you. It even helps the planet!
Welliver Mason Bee House
The features on this house will make your bees very happy. It comes with 100 tubes, so there's plenty of room for them to spread out. While it is a bit on the pricier side, this little bee house is made in America for all your bee house needs. Welliver has made a bee house that is low maintenance and easy to use. The design features a stylish green roof.
Esschert Design WA02 Bee House
The stand out feature of this bee house is the design. It is beyond cute, shaped like a little house with tons of ready-made holes for the bees. Not to mention, the house is easy to use, affordable, and beneficial for the environment.
The Verdict: The Best Mason Bee House
If we were picking a best of for a honey bee house, the considerations would be nearly mathematical. One bee hive would provide the most trays, and therefore the most honey, for the lowest price. The consideration would be entirely economical. However, when it comes to mason bee houses, you really have to take your aesthetic taste and the overall vibe of your property into consideration. You want a house that matches the look of your home while providing a great, safe place for bees.
That said, you cannot beat the Niteangel Natural Insect Hotel Bee Bug House for our money. It is solidly constructed, looks inviting (even to humans) and provides a wonderful home for mason bees that are so essential to the life and wellbeing of the planet. On top of all of its solid design and its easiness on the eye, the Niteangel Natural Insect Hotel Bee Bug House is additionally one of the absolute cheapest mason bee houses that you can purchase online. Many people who go this route end up with multiple of these cute and eminently useful bee houses in their gardens or throughout the woods in their property.