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Homes for Solitary Bees.. Do it now!

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Wednesday 9 March 2011

Homes for Solitary Bees.. Do it now!

It’s March and I see from BWARS that more bees are being spotted and so it’s time to get your solitary bee houses out and sited in safe and convenient places. Being here in the UK for a few months, I hope to get or make one very soon. I have been looking round the garden for a suitable location. A sunny south/southeast wall or hanging spot and at least a meter from the ground. There are some very nice looking bee houses for sale but of you prefer a DIY approach it is not too difficult.

Do have a look these excellent pages about making bee houses on Marc Carltons’s “Foxleas” site.

He has very good and comprehensive information about how you make them and why you make them the way they are, and as well as small houses he advocates larger and more luxurious homes

“It is easy to make a larger house for solitary bees. I first saw one like this in Switzerland in the early 1980s. Since then I have seen them on several occasions in Germany and Switzerland, but curiously they are rare in the UK. It is time to put that deficiency right!”

marc carlton Foxleas

This is a section of a large “house”. A series of rather nice insect apartments with different sized holes to suit different sized occupants. I think I will be going for the bundle of hollow sticks approach this year. I hope someone will come.. anyone really…and as Marc says:

“Various other sorts of parasitic solitary wasps and parasitic bees will find your bee house once it is occupied, preying on, or taking over, the nest cells of mason bees. Don't worry about them, they are all part of the fascinating community of insects.”


With a bit of luck it will be home to some of these… a sketch for my next painting, a little osmia bee.

osmia sketch

Marc Carlton’s bee house instructions at

** Also see Gary´s post on his excellent insect and bee houses! here at Gary's Garden

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Blogger Diana Studer said...

Reminds me, we saw a bee flying to and from a hole in a log in our stacked firewood. Must hope the residents are all out, by the time winter strikes, and we start burning those logs.

9 March 2011 at 20:36  
Blogger Benjamin Vogt said...

I'll be cutting down mu eupatoriums soon and for the first time making bundles of their hollow stalks. We'll see! My wife thinks I'm nuts.

9 March 2011 at 22:07  
Blogger Unknown said...

Wonderful post, Val! Definitely recommend your wise suggestions on bee homes. By the way, your parcel arrived safely at its destination and the recipient was delighted. So thank you again for helping me do something kind for someone.

10 March 2011 at 02:35  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And if you really want to go to town on bees, try these!

10 March 2011 at 10:06  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reminder! I have a few to build for myself and a friend.

11 March 2011 at 19:06  
Blogger sharp green pencil said...

Hi there everyone.. thank you for your very kind comments! I am only just online here in darkest Lincs so forgive late response.

EE, Hi there and thanks for your comment!Nice to hear from you again. I think maybe you should check the logs for those residents. They might just overwinter in there? Depends on the bee I think!

BV Hi there and thank you. Good luck with the bee house! My partner thinks I am mad too if thats any consolation :)..has spring sprung yet with you??

Jodi. Thanks ! I am so delighted that all arrived in good order and that she was happy!. Hope all your gardening friends are busy with their bee houses!

Alan. Wow.. thanks for that link, they are marvellous. We really need to get creative here. I unfortunately don't have any tools yet due to relocation but maybe will invest in a drill at least.

Nobones.. many thanks and I just love your blog name.. Readers!! do go and check out his blog the Bug Whisperer
its packed full of beautiful photos and fascinating info .. very good anatomy and history posts

13 March 2011 at 07:57  
Blogger Curbstone Valley Farm said...

Our orchard Mason Bees just started hatching a little over a week ago. I'm looking forward to adding some extra solitary bee habitats around the garden this year. We need all the pollination help we can get!

14 March 2011 at 22:57  

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