Posted by: buzzybeegirl | April 3, 2011

Bee-estate

Hi fellow bee lovers!  I hope you all are well out there and enjoying the spring weather. It is starting to warm up in most places, which means the bees are starting to come out. This is the time when female native bees (non honey bees) will begin to emerge from hibernation and start looking for a place to build her nest. There is something that you can do to help these ladies…you can give her a bee condo. Yes…a bee condo. I had blogged about bee condos a while back and am re posting the directions again. This is the time to get them out and begin watching the magic while providing the valuable service of pollination to your garden flowers. Just remember…these will not attract honey bees, they will only attract solitary bees which are not aggressive.

 

So here is the low down on increasing the housing for bees:

Cut an angle at the top of the block because you will be putting a small roof on your bee house (see picture below). You can use a thinner piece of wood for the roof. Nail the roof on the top of the block making sure that the roof is long enough to protect the nest from rain and sun.

 

To make the actual cavities you can either use the same hole size for the entire block or you can use several different hole sizes to get different bees nesting in the same block. I tend to go for the second choice. You can use 1/8″, 3/16″, 1/4″, and 3/8″ hole sizes. Take your pick.

 

Drill holes about 3 inches deep for the small (1/8″, 3/16″) diameter and about 6 inches deep for the larger (1/4″, 3/8″) diameters, either in rows or in any pattern you would like. The bees are not that picky, as long as the holes are deep enough.

 

Drill a hole through the back (width), one near the top & bottom (to loop wire through so you can hang your nest) or drill one hole in the back center to hang the nest on a nail. The best place to hang the bee nest is near flowers or trees. Just nail it about 5-15 feet above the ground on a post, tree, or somewhere on the side of your house. Just make sure the nest is stable.

Hang your nest somewhere facing south, the bees like sunny places.  Decorate the outside if you like!

Lastly…have fun bee-ing landlords!!!

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Responses

  1. [...] for building nest sites for solitary bees at Anna’s Bee World — I would totally do this if I had any outdoor space at my [...]

  2. This is great, I wish I had some outdoor space to put one in. What types of bees are attracted to these? I’m guessing miner bees aren’t terribly interested?

    • Hi Michael,
      These nests attract any type of solitary bee that likes to nest in above ground cavities. Some examples are leaf cutters and mason bees. They are a lot of fun when you start seeing the bees using it!

  3. HI!! This is so cute. I’m a student at UC Davis and took a few classes in entomology. I fell in love and realized this is my hobby. I work for the department of Plant Pathology, Nematology, & Entomology and get to see what a lot of the professors are working on. UC Davis is also the home to the Bohart Museum. Recently we did a research fundraiser, along with Haagen-Daaz to save the bees!! I would love more detailed instructions for this bee-condo! Maybe more pictures would help. Please email me!

    • Hi Stephanie! Thanks for visiting & helping the bees. I will e-mail you more photos and more detailed instructions on making the bee condos. Right now would be the time to start putting them out. You are in one of the best bee areas in terms of schools. Lots of wonderful up there :-)

  4. I love the photo of the bee poking her head out of the hole. Quite different to how we keep our bees in hives, but they look up at us in the same way when we take off the roof.

    Our bees have been behaving very strangely this summer, eating holes through their wax. Do you know why they might do that? They are supposed to build honeycomb, not eat it!

  5. Interesting….our local bee guys says to never just drill holes in a block of wood as suggested here. It’s better to route round bottom channels ina thinner block of wood to make a”tray” and then stack the trays to make a condo. You should cover the top of each tray (use plexi-glass if you want to keep an eye on your bees)….and the back (some wood veneer does nicely).

    The grooves should be 5/16 wide as that is the perfect mason bee size (at least here in Victoria, BC. That 5/16 value comes from many years of testing by our local bee guy (Gord Hutchings).

    Now I’m not yet clear on why you should not just drill holes in a block of wood. It sure would be simpler.

    I suppose from a workload perspective…..you’d have to make a new block every year as you can’t clean out the holes using the method you suggest. You can easily clean the tray based system I described each year with making anything new.

    Thoughts?

  6. I tryed this and it works great. Good content, keep it up.
    brad drake
    NV Bee Guy

    http://bradleydrake.wordpress.com/

  7. I just found your blog, so glad someone is blogging about our native bees. Can’t wait to follow your posts. I am making more bee boards this week for my yard along with some hollow stem bunches.
    Heather


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