This week we are joined by Heath Keirstead and Jerry Paul from the Benton Soil and Water Conservation District (BSWCD). Heath is BSWCD’s Communication and Community Engagement Manager and Jerry has been involved with BSWCD as a volunteer and Board Member. PolliNation caught up with Heath and Jerry at the BSWCD office to talk about caring for orchard mason bees (Osmia lignaria) in the spring and their outreach initiative – the Bee Buddies program – that is encouraging stewardship of people cultivating these bees.
Listen in to learn how best to take care of your mason bees, when to place them outside, and how the Bee Buddy program helps the pollinator community.
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“If any of you have the chance, take a mason bee or any pollinator, look at it under the microscope and I think it’s going to open up a whole new world to you.” – Jerry Paul
- When is the best time to put out mason bees
- Why mud preparation is the best thing you can do for your mason bees
- How to tell if your flowers are ready to be pollinated
- How to protect the larval mason bees during transport
- Why the location of the nest box is so important to the mason bee’s success
- Which plants are the most beneficial to the mason bee
- Why the Bee Buddies program was started, and what it’s goals were
- How caring correctly for mason bees can give them a 90% survival rate
- How the Bee Buddies program is bringing attention to larger environmental issues
- What the outreach of Bee Buddies looks like
- How to get involved with Bee Buddies
- What other organizations are contributing to environmental conservation
“With a mason bee, you can target your crop. They only fly up to about 300 feet from their nest box.“ – Heath Keirstead
- Check out the Urban Meadowscaping Handbook
- Learn more about BSWCD’s Resources for Pollinators
- Check out Jerry and Heath’s recommended book on pollinators:
- Find out more about Jerry’s favorite tool: woodworking tools for making mason bee homes
- Learn more about Heath and Jerry’s favorite bee, Osmia lignaria