Showing posts with the label mason bees

2024 Project: Bee Hotel Renovation - February 2024

We've had a bee hotel (or Mason Bee House, if you will) for a number of years, but the past two it has been sort-of 'out of service'.  It fell from the its perch and has been laying on the ground.  For 2024, I'm going to push myself to renovate this thing.  It needs a new bottom and some replacement bamboo pieces. Why did I suddenly think of my Bee Hotel?  Because the University of Illinois is (right now...) conducting a " Bee Hotel Project " where they're calling for people to donate their Bee Hotels to science.  Check out the details here and sign-up to donate your Bee Hotel here .  U of I researcher Timo Wayman (an Entomology graduate student at University of Illinois ) is looking to help better understand native bees. I'm not sure our Bee Hotel will be of any value as it has been sitting on the ground for two seasons, but I'm going to fill out the form and see if they'd like to take a look.

Mason Bee House - Some Occupancies - June 2020

This is the third season with our Mason Bee house/hotel in our yard.  I was gifted it for my birthday in April 2018.  Hung it that year and documented the population/residents in May of 2018 when some of the cavities were filled .  That first year, there were 14 tubes filled or packed with mud.  And eggs. I don't seem to have posted about the occupancy rate in 2019, but I'm happy to report that we're seeing a big jump in occupancy for 2020.  At the top of this post, you can see the bee hotel as it stands now.  I went ahead and made it easier on all of us with the annotated version of the photo below.  It shows 36 little red circles that are filled with mud.  I haven't done a scientific analysis, but it seems that the larger bamboo is NOT being used - rather they seem to prefer a mid-sized bamboo piece or hole. But...with 36 sets packed in, that's a more than a 100% increase in occupancy.  Now, there's lots of coverage about the decline of bees , but just

Mason Bee House - Fall 2019

I posted this Mason Bee house structure to our fence back in early Spring of 2018 and it was immediately put to use with some of the cavities filled by Summer .  Posting this photo in the Fall of 2019 to mark in the [ garden diary ] that it seems that none of the cavities have been filled/utilized this season.  Early this Spring, I went in and tried to clean out all of the cavities that had previously been occupied in an attempt to make it as insect-friendly as I could.  For whatever reason....I don't think the tubes were used this season.  I've started to wonder if this is something that I can look to create as a Christmas gift for some family members?  There are plenty of plans online - but it is a simple project just with a cedar box with a roof structure, then following some best practices to make the best home for various insects .  My instincts are to go *big* and think multi-insect environment, but I don't think that's actually best for making something th

Mason Bee House Update - (Some) Cavities Filled

Back at the end of April, I posted a photo of the new Mason Bee House that my sister gave me for my birthday.  I hung it on our fence, on the north fence line down in the low spot of our yard - which due to the swails/drainage means that's the spot that has the most moisture.  Hence...access to mud.  It also gets morning and mid-day sun. Which are all the components for a good placement (access to mud, stable location and partial sun) of a Mason Bee House. And, much to my surprise, I've found that the house is being occupied! least some of the chambers are filled.  Look closely at the photo above, you'll see some of the bamboo cavities are filled with mud.  That means there's larvae behind them. Here's a marked up version of the house showing the filled chambers. I count 14 little bees behind mud and based on what I read online , these things will live inside those chambers for close to a year and will emerge in the Spring of 2019.