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A Note on the Proper Hole Size for Blue Orchard Mason Bee, Osmia lignaria, Management

Dr. Philip Torchio

Past work with Osmia lignaria has demonstrated that the most effective hole size is close to 5/16" in diameter and 6" deep. If holes of less depth are used, the nesting females will produce fewer female and more male progeny; if deeper holes are used, the extra space is wasted. The bees flying in orchards have a surplus of pollen-nectar resources to collect and, consequently, they fly only short distances from their nest holes. To obtain even pollination across an orchard, it is necessary to spread the bees evenly across the orchard. I would suggest that you place one nest shelter per acre and establish 250 nesting females in each shelter supplied with at least three nesting holes per nesting female.

Although I am now retired, I would be happy to answer any other questions you may have.