My post ‘Stick storage guide’ brought on some great questions from my blog readers. One of my readers, Forkboy, had a question regarding my bee catching methods. I thought I should blog about it. After all, if he is wondering how I do this there has to be others that are wondering the same thing.
So how is it that a piece of metal mesh and duct tape will catch me some bees. Is it magical metal mesh or just a crazy idea I thought may work? I have to admit that it is the latter. It is a crazy idea that I think may work. At least I am hoping it may work.
Here is my logic…The bee nests are just elderberry stems with holes drilled at the top. Here is a picture of what they look like.
The stick is partially drilled, about 6 inches down. This is where the bees lay their eggs. Inside the sticks. When the bees are done filling up the stick with babies, they close off the entrance with various substances, like small rocks.
The baby bees will eat and grow inside the sticks. They will then pupate and spin a cocoon. All this happens inside the stick. The baby bees stay inside the stick until they become adult bees. Depending on the species of bee, this may take a few weeks to a year. The bees I study will stay inside for a year.
Once the bees become adults, they are ready to enter the world. They burst through their cocoons and they begin digging their way up towards the entrance of the stick.
This is where the metal mesh comes into play. I wrap the top of the stick, the entrance, with metal mesh. So when the bees decide to emerge, they will dig their way to the top of the stick, climb out of the hole at the top of the stick. The bees cannot fly anywhere. The mesh acts as a dome. Here is an illustration (warning:the graphics are bad, but this is all I could do with powerpoint).
Here is what it would be like if you were the bee…Imagine living in a house with no windows and only 1 door, the front door. One day you leave the house and there is a giant metal cage covering your front door. You can step out a few feet, but that is all. You are now trapped. You can take a few steps outside your door, but you cannot leave. This is what the bee faces. They become trapped and stay inside the cage.
This will help me catch the bees and identify them down to species. Does this make sense Forkboy? Please let me know any questions…it’s fun addressing them.