Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Nesting Blocks - Quick and easy way to attract bees

Our "new" bee nesting block

Over this past weekend, we decided to build a small bee nesting block with the hope of attracting some solitary bees to help pollinate the garden.  I read that there are over 5000 types of solitary bees and 1500+ here in Nevada.

Solitary bee (Zool.), any species of bee which does not
        form communities.
Solitary bees are pretty neat little things.  After they find the nesting block, they will choose a hole size they like and move in.  They go to the very back and start building egg cells and laying eggs as they move their way back towards the entrance.  They then packing in some pollen and nectar and seal the hole up.  When the eggs hatch, the larva will eat the polling/nectar.  Once they turn into a bee, they will dig there way out into the open and join the world.

Building a nesting block is pretty simple.  I grab a piece of unpainted/unstained/untreated scrap 4x4 and then drilled lots of different sized holes into it with my drill press.  I then added a slanted roof to help keep the rain off and hung it on the wall near the garden.  Two days later, the bees have moved in!

A nice thing about solitary bees is that they are not very aggressive because they have no hive to defend.