Wild Bee Nesting Blocks...

If you would like to attract wild bees?

What I like to use is a 12" or 18" or even a 24" long piece of (white cedar) 4x4"
I drill 5/16 inch diameter holes about 6 inches deep spaced about 3/4's to 1" inch apart.
You should mount the bee block at least 2 1/2 feet above the ground.
The white cedar seems to last longer than regular wooden 4x4's, and it doesn't get moldy so easily.

You should remove the bee blocks in the fall and keep them in a place that doesn't get below 0°F. like a garage or an unheated greenhouse.

The wild bees will lay eggs in the holes and plug them with plant material.
Females are laid in the bottom of the holes, while males are laid towards the front entrance of the bee block holes.
The hibernating bees need a winter period of below 40°F. temperatures to break dormancy.
Wild bees are hardier than domesticated bees and will fly during bad weather (rain and wind) if it's warm enough.
I've had good success with this method, and I just stick the bee blocks outside in the spring without cleaning the blocks.
The bees seem to do all the house cleaning themselves?

One thing that you need to do is to plant wild flowers, flowering bushes, or fruit trees to provide bee forage so that the bees will have a continuous supply of pollen, and nectar.
That will also attract a lot of humming birds and butterflies as well.
Good food for the eyes and the soul......

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

darwinsconfusion darwinsconfusion
56-60, M
7 Responses Feb 17, 2009

The depth of the hole is important because females will hatch towards the back of the hole, and males near the opening. Which means females are less susceptible to predatory wasp attacks than the males.<br />
See the links I've posted for pictures and info about the bees and wasps.

I can't believe someone would steal a "bee block" of all things?<br />
I think you might be right, it probably looked too good.<br />
It's not too hard to make your own, you can use just straws bundled up in a plastic sewer pipe or some other tube that you can get at a hardware store.<br />
<br />
Theres a lot of ideas if you do a google image search for "mason bees."<br />
<br />
The reason I like to use cedar is because I think it might deter mights and other parasites, but I probably should use some removable tubes in the future to make it easier to clean.<br />
<br />
I've seen the bee nesting holes plugged with "mud" and a few seem to have been plugged up with "leaves."<br />
So I think that both Mason Bees and Leaf Cutters are using the same nesting blocks.<br />
Both species are solitary bees and will fly even during cool, cloudy and rainy weather, so their good for pollinating vegetables and fruit trees.<br />
<br />
If you do try to drill out holes in a block of wood make sure you lay out the holes accuratly with penciled lines and center punch them where they intersect with an awl or a nail. Then first pilot drill them with a small drill and then open them up with the larger drill the 5/16" inch. I use electricians tape wound around the drill to butt against, so that I don't drill too deep. You'll have to sight along the drill "sideways" to make sure that your drilling a fairly straight hole, so that you dont run into any other holes that you've drilled.<br />
<br />
Or just buy another bee block, and camouflage it so that those dingbats dont steal it again....hehe!?<br />
<br />
[Mason Bees]: http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/ent/notes/Other/note109/note109.html<br />
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[Leaf Cutter Bees]: http://completegarden.wordpress.com/category/garden-pests-and-diseases/<br />
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[Wood Boring Wasps]: http://soonm.blogspot.com/2011/04/wood-boring-wasp.html

How do you tell the difference between mason bees + Leaf cutter bees & Wood boring wasps ?

Thanks that looks really interesting.<br />
After a bit of research I bought a Solitary Bee House with routed out holes which bolted together & took apart<br />
This was supposed to be better for cleaning out to prevent the build up of bee mites. <br />
http://www.edenproject.com/shop/go/product.aspx?id=8877<br />
I only have a front garden which borders onto the street.<br />
I thought I had it screwed down pretty well but It was only up a couple of days before it was stolen.<br />
Late on Saturday night & probably by a passing drunk....It obviously looked too good.<br />
So I'm considering alternatives in time for next spring.<br />
Apparently a good depth of hole is pretty important for female / male ratio?

I am a real beekeeper, these are not honey bees, but some kind of wood boring wasp. Honey bees are a social insect and make honey, wasps do not. These types of insects nest naturally in my barn. I swat them with a tennis racquet. They are destructive much like termites. The wasps that the author is perpetuating will gladly eat his home from under him.

Interesting story indeed.

Wow! I'd love to see the honey bees do this to our log cabin instead of the carpenter bees! I will see if we can do this to draw some honey bees! Thanks