Mason Bee Rentals

What a nifty idea!

A friend of mine crowed on Facebook that she just received her mason bees in the mail. Naturally, I had to learn more. It turns out that you can rent them from They come to you in early spring with a bee house, a nesting block, 50-60 mason bee cocoons and a box with return postage for when you send them back in the fall. What a nifty idea!

Why mason bees? They pollinate your garden for you. They aren’t aggressive. (You really have to mess with a mason bee a lot to get stung because they’re naturally gentle creatures.) They’re super low maintenance, since you’re not dealing with honey. Just hang the box and let them do their thing. They’re also a great learning experience, and a great way to help the planet.

Why rent them? Well, each mason bee does the work of 100 honeybees. And at the end of the season, 50 mason bees can produce 500 eggs. When you send them back free of charge, the company will clean each cocoon and sterilize each nesting block to free them of predators and then safely keep them in hibernation under just the right conditions. The next season, they send these healthy bees to farmers, who need 1000 bees per acre to pollinate their crops, which, in turn, feed all of us.

What’s not to love about this program? If you’re interested, you better hurry, though, because they ship the last mason bees of the season on April 26th. So get your bee on!

Cultivate an attitude of gratitude! Read my book!

I Love You, Honey

I was sitting in the back yard the other day, watching the dogs play and enjoying the sun, when a bee landed on my hand. In my younger days this would probably have freaked me out. I don’t want to get stung. Who does?

But now I’m a lot calmer and more logical. I wasn’t threatening this bee in any way, so she wasn’t going to give up her life by stinging me. In fact, I’m sure I was but a brief stop as she went about her busy schedule. And sure enough, after a thorough inspection of my cuticles, she flew away.

I recently read Robbing the Bees: A Biography of Honey by Holley Bishop. It gave me a great deal of insight into our buzzing neighbors, and it also made me run out and order a sample pack of various types of honey from Smiley Honey, the apiary she writes about in the book. I have to say their wildflower honey is the best honey I’ve ever tasted in my life. It’s like sweet golden sun-kissed flowers on your tongue.

The book talks about the long history of the relationship between humans and bees, and also how dependent we are upon their pollination skills. If we lose the bees, we will lose a huge amount of the food that we take for granted, and that’s a scary prospect because we are killing them off with our chemicals and our twisted interventions in the natural world.

It has long been on my bucket list to keep a beehive. After reading so much about it, I’m more determined than ever. People have been doing it for centuries. If I’m ever a homeowner again, I plan to do just that.

The book also talked about the fact that honey has benefits that refined sugar does not provide. A quick google search will tell you that if you compare the same amount of honey to sugar, you will find it has fewer calories, 25 times as much potassium, 6 times as much calcium, fewer carbs, and also provides you with things that sugar does not, such as some fiber, protein, vitamin C, iron, and magnesium. I’m definitely going to do my best to use honey as my main sweetener from now on.

It also discussed the many benefits of bee pollen. These benefits are more controversial, but many consider it a superfood that increases your vitality, reduces cravings, strengthens the blood, prevents infectious diseases and allergies, and even prevents cancer. So I went to my local health food store and got some in bulk, and have started taking it, a spoonful each morning. It kind of tastes like sweet dirt.

Be advised that I’m not a doctor, and you should probably consult with one before adding bee pollen to your diet as some people have experienced side effects. Having said that, just in this short period of time that I’ve been consuming honey and bee pollen, I have noticed a great improvement in my breathing and energy levels, and have had less lower back pain (probably due to the potassium in the honey). Coincidence? Honestly, I have no idea. But I’ll take it!