|Bee house, photo courtesy National Wildlife Federation|
In anticipation of National Pollinator Week in June, you can invite native bees to your yard by providing a man-made nesting block or "Bee Condo." The Pollinator Partnership, the largest non-profit organization in the world dedicated exclusively to the protection and promotion of pollinators and their ecosystems, provides the following instructions on building a bee condo.
- 4”x6” or 6”x6” dried pine or fir post (or you can try a weathered fence post or other scrap wood)
- Drill and drill bits, a variety of diameters ranging from 1/4” to 3/8”
- Paper straws - not plastic (available at some hardware stores, or through a scientific supply store), or small hollow sticks, with one end sealed
- A warm location protected from rain and predators
- Cut the wooden blocks 8-12" long.
- Drill holes into the wood blocks using a variety of hole diameters from 1/4” to 3/8”. Drill holes 3-5” deep, and at least 3/4” apart. Smooth out ragged edges of holes.
- Alternatively, a bundle of paper straws or hollow sticks, with one end sealed, will make an attractive bee home.
- Bees prefer dark colored homes, so consider charring the front of your bee condo lightly with a torch.
- Mount your bee condo on a post or attach to the side of a building. Place nesting blocks so that the tunnels are horizontal. Make sure they are in a warm location with southern exposure and protected from rain. A good place could be under the eaves of a garage or shed.
Spring is a great time to encourage native bees to visit your yard!