Welcome Solitary Bees and Enjoy The Relaxing Sound of their buzzing
G et cracking this weekend and make an air bee ’n’ bee that will soon be a hive of activity for bees, including mason, leafcutter and yellow-faced, looking for places to breed. These are pretty chilled bees, so you don’t have to worry about having them in your garden, and they’ll be busy building cells, laying eggs, searching for pollen and nectar to feed their young, and blocking the entrances with leaves, mud or other materials. To create the interior of your hotel, collect lengths of bamboo, hollow plant stems and bunches of dried twigs and grasses.
Different species of wild solitary bee need holes from 2 to 10 mm, so aim for a range of diameters, and make sure your materials are dry before starting. To keep the stems dry from rain, make them 3cm shorter than the edge of the hotel. Use sharp garden clippers to trim them, smoothing the ends using sandpaper if uneven, as bees will be put off by any sharp edges as splinters can cut their wings. Avoid canes with too many knots as bees can’t burrow through them.
Position your hotel in full sun, facing south or south east. Hang at least 1m off the ground, with no foliage blocking the entrance. Move your bee hotel somewhere dry and unheated, such as garden shed, from October to February. You’ll know when the new bees have made their way out in spring as any mud covering the hollows will be opened up. You can then fill your hotel with fresh materials for a new year.
Buzzing is up there with some of the top sounds, alongside birds singing, leaves rustling and the trickle of a water feature. To calm anxiety, yoga fans hum the sound of bees during a breathing exercise known as Bee Breath – the longer your hum, the more relaxed you become!
You Will Need
Wooden pallet Flat head nails x 3
Cuprinol 5 Year Ducksback in Silver Copse, £14/5L homebase.co.uk
Collection of straw, pine cones, hessian, jute, natural dried grasses and cut bamboo
Fine mesh chicken wire, £6.95/5m homebase.co.uk
8-10 metal staples, £1.45 homebase.co.uk
Fixing bracket or hook, drill and screws
WHAT TO DO
1 Saw off the end of the pallet.
2 Lever off one of the planks from the discarded pallet and nail to the back of the cut section creating an open-fronted box with two long slots.
3 Lightly sand the box then dust if off using a clean brush. Apply two coats of paint, allowing it to dry in-between.
4 Once dry, fill each slot with natural materials.
5 Cut a length of chicken wire to cover the open front and hammer in the staples to keep it in place. Trim to size. Hang from your fence and wait for the bees to set up home. Repeat to make a collection of hotels.
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