The buds are swelling on the apple trees in Davies Orchard and a few days of sun are all that's needed for them to burst into bloom. It's time to put up your mason bee house and, if you have bees, place them in a box with a hole cut into it, sheltered from the rain and as close as possible to the bee house.
Be sure to place the house on a south wall or in your sunniest location, about 3-6' off the ground. Check to see that birds can't perch close enough to get at the nest holes. Provide a small amount of clay and water for the bees to use to plug the nest holes.
Watch your house daily as the fruit tree season progresses: the larger, blue female bees will be hard at work laying eggs, making a mix of pollen and nectar to feed the larvae, and plugging up the holes when they're done. The smaller, male bees will be hanging about the house, waiting for their women folk.
Another tip: don't cut the dandelions! Did you know that the humble dandelion contains a protein that is vital for healthy bees? Mason bees also like lilac, laburnum, willow, quince, delphinium and phacelia. Add any of these to your garden to attract the wild mason bees and provide them with a balanced diet!