In addition to having lost many sources of food, wild bees and bumblebees also find it challenging to find suitable places for nesting. Giving them artificial bee nests allows us to remedy the scarcity of natural nesting places partially and also allows us to observe them at work. It is a fascinating complement to the choice of nectariferous plants to give them varieties of livelihoods.
Replacement artificial nests can also be quickly built, which bees appreciate very much.
But something smaller and simpler is within everyone’s reach, and it is also a very suitable activity to carry out with children.
The Necessary Materials For Bee Nests Are
- A drill, with bits from 2mm to 10mm.
- Pieces of hardwood trunk, or even untreated joists depth about 15 cm.
- Wooden cannulas (elderberry, bamboo, or other hollow bushy plants inside), closed on one side by the knots of the wood itself.
- A wire mesh with links of about 1 cm.
- ANA wooden box to assemble everything.
Preparation Of Bee Nests
Just a few untreated wooden trunks, and a small box (those of the wine are fine) in which to place it.
Holes are drilled, with diameters varying between 2mm and 10mm (bees of different sizes will use more or less wide gaps), in the head of the trunks and the bricks. For the depth of the tunnel, the length of the tip can be taken as a guide.
Bees seem to prefer holes in dark surfaces. To blacken the wood, you can use a gas flame. We arrange the trunks and bricks so pierced next to each other in the box. The spaces between one trunk and another can be filled with cannulas. Keep more or less an inch under the wire of the cassette.
The entrance to the nest is protected with a wire mesh. So as not to transform the apartment building for bees into a canteen for peaks. The structure thus obtained hangs in a dry place, in the sun, preferably with an exposure to the east or south-east, in a place where it can remain permanently (some larvae overwinter in the nest).
Wild bees will begin to colonize your nest from April until August. The first year may not be much used, but newborns will tend to return, and your condominium will be a success in the following years. You will see a bustle of beehives that bring pollen and nectar into the holes, then lay an egg there, and form a dividing wall. Then they bring more pollen and nectar for a second egg, and so on until they have filled the entire tunnel. In the end, they seal the opening with a muddy cement or with leaves. The new bees will be born after some time, first, the one taken from the last egg laid, he will only be able to exit after having pierced the seal. The second is born from the penultimate egg and must break down the dividing wall to exit, and so on, going up.
Bees Nesting In The Ground
The remaining two-thirds of wild bees nest in the field. The females dig tunnels between 15cm and 60cm deep, with chambers where they lay their eggs. The larvae, and then the pupae, will spend up to 11 months underground, then go out and start the next generation. Often several bees of the same species choose to nest in aggregations, close to each other.
Bees that nest in the ground need direct access to the ground, in well-drained places, or on sloping ground. Facilitating is necessary to provide them with such pieces of land, well exposed to the sun, with little vegetation but, in any case, not completely naked, to prevent erosion. Areas with different slopes, with all inclinations from horizontal to vertical, are suitable for different types of bees. If possible, different dispositions should then be provided. Moist soils are not adequate, as are loose soils (bees need stable soils).
Instead of resorting to natural slopes, they can also be built artificially, by heaping earth in heaps of at least 30 cm, supported in such a way that they do not collapse at the first rain. In this case, it must be remembered that wild bees require that the soil is at least 35% sandy, to ensure the necessary drainage.