Mason bee's

Asked January 18, 2019, 12:50 PM EST

My plum and cheery tree do not produce any fruit. They flower, but only one or two fruits develop. I was thinking it might be due to lack of pollination. We live in Beaverton on Williams Mt (Burntwood area), on South side, and about 300-400ft. I was thinking about raising Mason bee's to help pollinate. I have read about the bee's and building nest, but not about where to buy pupa. Do you have information about where to buy starter kit, nest, pupa, and where to place box? Trees are not near house, and no fence post to place on. Also, do you have any ideas about why plum and cherry tree do no produce fruit? We planted them about 10 years ago from local nursery, and still no luck.

Washington County Oregon

3 Responses

Thank you for your question. I believe I got mine several years ago from The Backyard Bird Shop, you can find Mason bee cocoons by doing a web search for "Mason bees for sale." They will be emerging from their "tubes" in nature in a few weeks, but some of the cocoons have already been cleaned, dried and kept in a safe place until they 'match up' with the time the plants need pollination. Here is an article about them:

However, another problem your fruit trees might be having comes from an entirely different cause. You don't say what variety you have, but here is an article about cherry trees, and why they need another variety of cherry trees to cross-pollinate: Same issue with some plum varieties:

So, while having Mason bees is a great thing to do for the environment and plants needing pollination, learning what variety of plum and cherry trees you have, and then planting a second (or third) one of a variety whose pollen is compatible would be yet another way to ensure fruit production.

I hope this is helpful. Good luck!


Thanks for information about bee and fruit trees. I guess it is more important to have cross pollinator trees, than bee's, but will still get some bee's.

I can identify Cherry (Raineer), but having troubles with plum. I will inclose the only pictures I can find. Is there a Plum variety that would cross polinate with any plum if I cannot ID the plum I have?

The cross pollinators for Rainer are : Sam, van, bing, royal ann, lambert, mont. stella , gardin bing. What would be a good over all choise?

Please help me identify plum and how close to plant. Thanks, Chris

Thanks for more information, Chris. I think you may have found the chart on this Extension page for cherry tree options: I don't eat enough cherries to have an opinion, but any of the varieties listed will 'work.' Just in case you decide to add more trees, I'd pick the ones that are pollinizers for the most varieties or which you can find most readily in local nurseries.

As for the plums, we don't know whether it is European or Japanese, but can surmise it is Japanese, since most European ones are self-fruitful. So, the chart in this article ( suggests 4 varieties, and, of those, either Shiro or Santa Rosa pollinize more. If you want to wait a year, you can keep track of when your existing plum flowers (and has pollen), and find one in a nursery that is flowering simultaneously. The "when is pollen available" is the key to cross-pollination.

Hope this is helpful.