What a Treat for the Wildscape

by Catherine Johnson

Every inch of the Wildscape was explored recently at a Mason Bee program for Milam Home School Co-op. Forty-one people attended, which included twenty-six children and seven Master Naturalists. After the bee houses were assembled, everyone took off to all parts of the garden observing butterflies, hummingbirds, and spiders.  The children enjoyed refreshments, hide and seek, and receiving goody bags and nature books.

The parents were interested in building their own Wildscapes and want to return for free native plants. We enjoyed ages from baby to teens and hope to spend more time with them at the Wildscape.

How’s the Mason Bee Real Estate Doing?

By Carolyn Henderson

It turns out to be true that if you build it, they will come Рat least where Mason Bees are concerned. 
Several members of El Camino Real Texas Master Naturalists worked to construct and place “houses” that were thought to attract Mason Bees. Catherine Johnson conceived the idea for the project to be placed at the Birds and Bees Wildscape, which was created and is maintained by volunteers from ECR TMN chapter. Ms. Johnson is getting her Girl Scout troop involved, too. Sam Jolly started making the houses from Eastern Red Cedar trees. Alan Rudd completed that phase, then he and Scott Berger placed them around the wildscape. The additional bee condos were made with Hickory, Black Jack Oak, and Post oak. Rudd gave several¬† to members to place on their properties in an added project to see where they are best placed for future reference and what wood, if any, they may prefer.¬†
Approximately 8 of them were placed under a covered sitting area at the wildscape.

Alan and Scott Berger working to hang bee houses.
A bee!

Two that are in the exterior south-facing position are nearly totally occupied. A third there has about a fourth of it’s “condos” filled. The Mason bees were busy taking  possession and laying eggs on the interior houses facing both north and south as I was taking photos. 

I have one in a heavily shaded area facing south at my house. Even it has three places occupied by Mason bees so far. A spider also has taken up one “condo”.  I’m assuming that we will know that the bee eggs have hatched when the dirt plugs are gone. If you took one home, let us know where you placed it, which wood was used, and if it has Mason Bee occupants. If you would like to get involved, there will be a project at the wildscape involving the Girl Scouts and the Mason Bee condos on July 17. Contact Catherine for additional information.