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Mason bees don’t build hives, so people can give them a hand by adding houses suited just for them. (Photo by LNP)

The harvest looks like nothing more than little piles of dirt.

Here inside Landis Homes’ woodworking shop, they might be mistaken for sawdust.

Look closer to see tiny circles of mud, a yellow ball of pollen and fuzzy gray ovals.

These ovals are mason bee cocoons. A group of volunteers helps one of the season’s earliest-emerging bees along every step from egg to insect. They craft hotels for mason bees to lay eggs. They bring the egg-filled houses indoors to shelter from predators. They harvest the cocoons and refrigerate them to mimic winter weather. And when it’s time for the first blossoms to open, they deliver the bee larvae outside to eat, pollinate and make more bees.

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