Cleaning mason bee house when occupied

Asked April 9, 2020, 8:40 AM EDT

I have a mason bee house I got from the store . I didn’t clean it out from last year , not sure if it was used or not . But I’ve noticed there was mason bees flying around it today .( I didn’t see any go inside) I just wanna make sure it’s a clean environment. I was wondering if it’s too late to clean it ? Since it might be occupied Thanks !

Lake County Ohio

1 Response

Hello! Did you see any material in the tubes, such as mud? If so, bees are likely already emerging. If they're just flying around but you don't see anything in the tubes, females may be scoping out the house to move in. If you're using paper liners, you could remove and quickly replace them. You can make liners from parchment paper, if you have any.

To clean the houses, many mason bee "managers" will remove the paper liners (with bees inside cocoons) in late fall and overwinter them in the refrigerator. New liners can then be installed.

Here's more than you ever wanted to know about mason bees and other managed pollinators: