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Build a wild bee sanctuary.

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Intro; Save the bees from extinction!

For original article CLICK HERE from Instructables

Honey bees are disappearing fast and almost everyone knows it.  Most people do not realize that all the other types are disappearing too.  And colony collapse disorder is hard to blame when most bees are solitary!
That’s right, most types of bees live alone.
One big reason that they are disappearing is habitat loss.
This instructable suggests ways to provide solitary bees with brood space and overnight shelter in an attempt to replace some of that lost habitat.

The pot is just to giv the cob-mix some structure.

step 1 Cob and rods and stems and things

I have worked on since spring is to make blocks of cob (sand clay water and straw mixed to a gooey constituency  and let dry.  What I did was to get various different sizes of metal rod and push them into a block of wet cob and then let it dry for a couple of days.  Before it is completely dry, I take out the rods and this left holes for the bees.
I show a couple of the blocks here.
It worked and there are at least 4 types of bees living in the block.
I recently discovered that solitary bees burrow inside old raspberry canes!
So one really easy thing you can do to help the bees is to bundle up old raspberry canes and leave the bundle in a dry south facing location.  I am sure the bees will find them, burrow into some and leave some bee babies to hatch out next spring.

Cob is a mix of sand, mud and water. Hint - some flour will help adhesion.i

step 2 Cob and bars and stems

I layer the bars and stems  in the cob and try to pack as many sizes and types of stems as possible. So I use dill, weed stems, cicily stems, grape vines, and brassica stems  that have gone to seed.
Anything hollow or with a pithy middle.

The rods, sticks are just to create holes. Pull out before the mix sets hard.

step 3 Shelter, brood and success!

I attach some pictures of different types of bees that enter the holes in the cob and that enter the stems. I made one ugly cob and stem block last week and the bees are starting to use it now. There are about 5 types of bees using the cob blocks. The wasp mimic uses it for shelter at night, a bee about the size of the orchard masons uses it for brood. A green bee seems to use it for brood. A tiny black bee uses some small and medium holes and a large brown bee uses it too.  Today, 3rd august, tiny bees were swarming a little near the cob and stem block and a large bee used one of the front holes.

In most climates the cob must be kept (fairly) dry - a few boards over it will do the trick. Might even encourage bats to hibernate.

There is however a simpler and quicker way to help wild (solitary bees).

Simply take a 200 – 300mm length of European semi-hardwood; ash, beech etc and drill holes approx 8cm deep – any diameter from 5 – to 12mm to attract different species. Do this on both sides.  Screw a hook into the middle (top) and again cover to protect the log  from the worse of the elements. Hang in a fairly sheltered area. Viola a  Bee-hotel  (Botel !). Bee & Bee ??

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About pfiddle

Fiddle teacher - mostly Irish trad. Fiddle, mandolin and concertina. Eco-warrior, won E.U. Green Flower Award for Eco Accommodation. Also Irish (Gold) GHA. Green Hospitality Award. Mad keen on self-build - especially straw-bale and cob. 55 with a full head of (slightly) graying hair. No tattoos or piercings. Fond of animals - but legally so. Fond of food - I eat nothing else. Vegetarian by choice, Irish by the grace of birth, Munster by force of (rugby) arms.

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