The boys and I have been keeping the pollinator conversation going. This week we watched ‘Queen of the Sun’ on Netflix, and made our mason bee home. The documentary was a little dire in tone for little ears, but Middle Man largely wandered in and out and Big Kid and I talked a lot about the positive things people can and are doing to help. Have you seen it? What really got me was the transported bees being fed CORN SYRUP to rev them up for pollinating California’s mono almond crops. How much more insulting can you get?
For the bee house, we experimented with different building ideas, all of us trying to avoid rolling paper tubes and hoping instead to drill cavities into a piece of wood, or fallen branch, but our scraps were mostly cedar-which is a no go for attracting pollinators (it’s a natural insecticide) and the branches were either not wide enough, or impenetrable by our dull handsaw.
We went with a pine roof, painted enthusiastically (with non-toxic acrylic paint) by the boys, layer after layer after layer (bees will be attracted to bright colours similar to the flowers they love),
and an empty cream carton filled with a few dried japanese knotweed stalks and craft paper tubes. They weren’t so horrible to make after all. Heres the deal:
Cut strips of craft paper and roll around a pencil to form a tube. Tape seem, slip out pencil, and fold in to close one end of the tube. Tape it shut. Make enough to fill a clean waterproof carton. If you are opting for bamboo or knotweed tubes, make sure to cut so the natural ‘knots’ in the plant close one end of the tube. Tubes should be around six inches long.
Hang your house south or east facing, at eye level, near bee friendly plants and soil they can use to mud up their new home. Bees also need water so leave a shallow dish filled with rocks near by. Fill, everyday, part way with water so the rocks act as islands for the bees to land on.
Slightly more detailed instructions found here.
Cross your fingers that bees will come! Since our backyard pollinator garden is still young and not yet flowering, we’ll probably hang this out in the front.
Has anyone out there had any luck attracting these bees to their new home?