Spurred in part by concerns over declining bee populations, backyard beekeeping has surged in recent years. And while enthusiasts have traditionally focused on honey bees, more people are now raising mason bees in a trendy practice called bee ranching.
“Mason bees are the unsung heroes of bees,” said Laura Klahre of Blossom Meadow Honey and Coffee Pot Cellars Winery in Cutchogue. “They are a good alternative to honey bees or even a way to augment the work of other pollinating bees.”
Mason bees don’t produce honey, but they’re pollinating powerhouses. And these tiny, docile bluish-black bees rarely sting — eliminating the need for bee suits and other protective gear. (more…)