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Caring for and Keeping your Mason Bees


The Bee House must be in full sun, facing south east or south, at least 3.3ft but no more than 6.5ft (1-2 metres) off the ground. The Bee House must be firmly fixed so that it does not move in the wind.

If you have a Rivajam Bee House Planter Box, the same direction and sun guidance applies, but place it on a stable surface so that it is supported from underneath. Do not mount it.

Rivajam Bee House

Rivajam Bee House Planter Box

Native bees live alone, are cold­blooded and rely on the sun’s heat to warm them up in the morning, hence the need for a sunny site ­ otherwise the Bee House won’t be used.

There must be no trees or plants in the way of the entrances, and it’s best placed out of direct rain (for example under a roof overhang). Native bees don’t like to get wet! All Rivajam bee houses and planter boxes have a bee friendly wax coating for extra protection.


For the bees to use your beautifully placed house, they need nesting tubes. Using nesting tubes allows you to harvest the cocoons and clean the house each season to reduce debris and prevent disease. This means that your house can be used for many seasons.

At the start of each new spring season, put new Rivajam replacement tubes into the Bee House ready for nesting.

Choose tubes that can be opened. There is a selection of Rivajam nesting tubes available that includes cardboard, cardboard with paper inserts and phragmite – depending on what will work best with your house.

You will also need to make sure your bees have access to the right nesting materials. The bees need to make and seal their development chambers inside the tubes.

Some species require clay mud which you can buy if it isn’t occurring in your area. Make sure that you water the clay mud because the bees like to have a good level of moisture. If you are trying to attract other bee species, they require leaves or petal material to cut and use in the tubes to develop the chambers.


The bees will also need plenty of forage material within a 300 foot foraging radius. Your bees will gather nectar and pollen from many different types of flowers, so make sure that you provide them with a variety of plants that bloom at different times.

Some great choices are:

  • Borage
  • Butterfly Bush
  • Coneflower
  • Cow Parsnip
  • Dahlia
  • Daisy
  • Dandelion
  • Goldenrod
  • Lavender
  • Marigold
  • Milkweed
  • Snapdragon
  • Sunflower.

There are many more flowers and plants that your bees will love. If in doubt, stick to native flowering plants.


Slide the cardboard tubes filled with cocoons carefully from the Bee House, and thoroughly clean the empty Bee House ready for use come Spring. Store the cocoons in a cool dry area such as an unheated garden shed during winter for protection, and so they don’t hatch. Winter temperatures can’t go below 10F (-12C) or the bees may die. But if it becomes too warm, they may hatch prematurely before spring and not have access to suitable food.

The Bee House’s nesting tubes can stay outside, but you can have better population growth if you move the nesting tubes to a protected storage area to prevent predators from feeding on the developing bees. They can be placed inside a sealed paper bag or cardboard box protected from mice, or in a plastic container with ventilation holes.

Beware Birds!

If you notice Woodpeckers or other birds attacking the tubes looking for bee larvae, fix a piece of chicken wire across the front of the Bee House. This does not stop the bees from going about their usual business.