The development of a bee species as a new crop pollinator starts with the identification of a pollination-limited crop production deficit and the selection of one or more candidate pollinator species. The process continues with a series of studies on the developmental biology, pollinating efficacy, nesting behaviour, preference for different nesting substrates, and population dynamics of the candidate pollinator. Parallel studies investigate the biology of parasites, predators and pathogens. The information gained in these studies is combined with information on the reproductive biology of the crop to design a management system. Complete management systems should provide guidelines on rearing and releasing methods, bee densities required for adequate pollination, nesting materials, and control against parasites, predators and pathogens. Management systems should also provide methods to ensure a reliable pollinator supply. Pilot tests on a commercial scale are then conducted to test and eventually refine the management system. The process culminates with the delivery of a viable system to manage and sustain the new pollinator on a commercial scale. The process is illustrated by the development of three mason bees, Osmia cornifrons (Radoszkowski), O. lignaria Say and O. cornuta (Latreille) as orchard pollinators in Japan, the USA and Europe, respectively.