My mason bee house investment was a bust this year: not a single bee created any masonry or left any cocoons. I dutifully opened all of the paper straws just to be certain, hoping maybe I’d find at least a few bees to protect over winter and set out in the spring.

Instead what had moved in to the hotel were earwigs. Ew. Harmless critters, but a little offensive in the way they scuttle around. They had not laid any eggs either, just left a lot of microscopic poop in the paper straws.

And, when I took the house off of the tree, there were leopard slugs wedged between it and the trunk, causing me to startle greatly (slugs are my one hard-wired, full blown phobia). Egads. Since when do slugs climb trees??

Now that I look at pictures of mason bees again, I don’t think I’ve ever seen any of the blue-brown looking bees around here. And supposedly they don’t travel far from their nest sites. So maybe we don’t have a native population on our property. This fall I’m going to try to buy some to jump-start the population.