by Sandy Garland
Mason bees are named for their use of mud or clay in their nests. They belong in the genus Osmia in the family Megachilidae. At the Fletcher Wildlife Garden, we have found Blue Orchard Mason Bees (Osmia lignaria) as well as the Heriades pictured below. This and other species in the family are very good at pollinating fruit trees. They are closely related to leaf-cutter bees, which will also use bee boxes.