Friday, April 14, 2017

Build a Bee Condo! By Donna Duffy

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.
Green Mason Bee, photo courtesy University of Colorado Boulder

Materials needed:
  • 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
  1. Cut the wooden blocks 8-12" long. 
  2. 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.
  3. Alternatively, a bundle of paper straws or hollow sticks, with one end sealed, will make an attractive bee home.
  4. Bees prefer dark colored homes, so consider charring the front of your bee condo lightly with a torch.
  5. 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!