Hi – I have bought a small mason bee house for a friend and would like to also give her some mason bee cocoons. Most sources for these seem to be in BC and I gather the bee is a different type than east of the Rockies. Do you know where I can purchase the eastern type of bee? or maybe there isn’t a difference?
Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners with your inquiry. What a lovely thoughtful gift to give your friend.
Mason Bees are amongst the easiest to raise, while being amazing productive pollinators for spring flowers and fruits it is also an awesome cross-pollinator. The female carries pollen on the underside of her hairy abdomen, and then scrapes the pollen off within her nesting hole. Because the pollen is carried dry on her hair, it falls off easily as she moves among flowers. This results in significantly more pollinated flowers than from her cousin the Honey Bee, who wets the pollen and sticks it to her legs during transport to the hive.
The Toronto Master Gardeners aim is to advise clients on all things horticultural — except pointing our clients in the direction of specific retailers.
The Ontario Beekeepers Association has an excellent website with quick links on where to buy bees and equipment. According to their website it is important to purchase your bees from a reptable supplier, one that knows the source of their genetic stock. On their website they also provide a link to reptable Bee Suppliers
Happy bee watching!