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What is the Bee Buddies Program?

The Bee Buddies Program is designed to care for and increase the population of native mason bees in Benton County. Bee Buddies received a nest box and cocoons, which a BSWCD representative installs in an appropriate location. The bees emerge, mate, and get to work pollinating spring blooms like fruit trees, blueberries, and various native plants. Here’s the process:

  1. Submit an application by March 8. We will determine if your property meets a few minimum requirements, arrange a site visit, and size your nesting box accordingly.
  2. Receive a nesting box. We will install a bee box at an approved location. The box will have a sign affixed with information about the project so that you can help educate the visitors to your garden.
  3. The bees pollinate. Your bees will pollinate your crops mid-March through May and potentially double or triple crop yields!
  4. We harvest cocoons. In June, BSWCD will collect your bee boxes, harvest, clean, and store the cocoons until the next active season, when you may reapply.
George and Patty Bolz with their installed nest box
George and Patty Bolz with their installed nest box

Who can be a Bee Buddy?

We loan nesting kits to gardeners and fruit growers who want to boost fruit yields and support native pollinators and their natural habitats. Public or private landowners in Benton County can participate. Bee Buddies is only open to people who use organic, pesticide-free practices. You may qualify to be a Bee Buddy if you have fruit trees, blueberries, or early blooming native plants, such as Oregon grape. To help cover the cost of materials, we charge a $30 participation fee.

The Mighty Mason Bee – a presentation by Bee Enthusiast Jerry Paul.

Caring for Mason Bees

  • Mason Bee Life Cycle

    Learn about the stages of the mason bee life cycle and the steps involved in caring for mason bees in this informative brochure.

    View now

  • Mason Bee Facts

    Curious to learn more about these gentle super-pollinators? Read our Mason Bee Facts brochure.

    Read now

  • The Bee Buddies Program

    If you are interested in the Bee Buddies Program, this brochure has the information you are looking for. Share with a friend!

    View Bee Buddies Brochure

Finding the right mud for mason bees

Related Blog Posts

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Integrated Biological Pest Management
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2017 was an exceptional year of Integrated Biological Pest Management (IBPM) education thanks to USDA Risk Management Education Partnerships Program funding and the leadership of Gwendolyn Ellen.

Conservation Neighbor: Jerry Paul
Heath Keirstead | December 30, 2020

Native plants brought the Pauls to Benton SWCD after they moved to Corvallis in 2006. By 2012, Jerry had revolutionized the order fulfillment process at the Native Plant Sale.

Conservation Neighbor: Molly Monroe
Heath Keirstead | December 15, 2020

Molly Monroe, with her personal and professional dedication to conserving the natural world and its inhabitants, is a role model for all budding and even long-standing conservation practitioners. Read more about this inspiring conservation neighbor!

Related Resources

For additional information, we recommend:
  • Willamette Valley Host Plants for Butterflies

    Willamette Valley Host Plants for Butterflies

  • Butterfly Gardening Handout

    Native Plants for Butterfly Gardening, 4 pages

  • Bloom Time Table of Pollinator Plants

    Flowering Timetable of native plants for native insect pollinators in the Southern Willamette Valley.

  • Top 20 Native Butterfly Host and Nectar Plants

    Top 20 native butterfly host and nectar plants

  • Plants and Butterflies

    Table of native plants and the butterflies for which they are hosts

Program Contact

Heath standing in a field with soil testing equipment
Heath Keirstead
Communications and Community Engagement Manager
541-753-7208 ext. 205
Copyright ©2013- 2021 Benton Soil & Water Conservation District. All rights reserved.