Bee Hotel Update

14th June 2012
The long spell of unsettled, wet and cool weather has certainly slowed activity at my Bee Hotel. Virtually to a standstill!

I put up the box and April and by mid-May, Red Mason Bee males and females were investigating the box and roosting there overnight. The box has nine removeable wooden blocks each 3" x 3" x6" (approx. 8cm x 8cm x 15cm).

Block A: Mixture - 7mm & 8mm holes
Block B: Mixture - 2mm to 10mm holes
Block C: Soft mortar with 2mm to 10mm holes
Block D: 2" hole with paper "bee tubes"
Block E: 2" hole with bamboo stems.

I plan to record bees that use the "Hotel" and the holes they prefer.








The first nest hole was completed by a Red Mason Bee and sealed with mud on 22nd May. By 28th May, fifteen nest holes had been completed; seven in 7mm holes, seven in 8mm holes and one in a 10mm hole. All by Red Mason Bees. Checking today, only one additional nest hole had been completed in a 7mm hole. That''s sadly, just one additional nest completed during the last two weeks!

On a positive note, I did see a smaller darker Osmia bee (image bottom left) start nesting in a 7mm hole on 30th May. There was lots of activity for a few days, but the nest didn''t seem to get completed. Hopefully, there are some completed cells deep in the hole. I''m not sure of the identification of this bee, but assuming it''s the Blue Mason bee (Osmia caerulescens) or Osmia leaiana. I''ll know once I see the colour of the scopal hairs under the abdomen - black with O. caerulescens, orange with O. leaiana.


So, activity so far in the "Bee Hotel" is:

Blocks Type A: The most popular, with eight 7mm holes use and seven 8mm holes used.

Blocks Type B: One 10mm hole used.

Block Type C: No nests yet, but used for "roosting".

Block Type D: No bees using the commercially-available "bee tubes yet"

Block Type E: No bees using the cut bamboo stems yet.

Hopefully, we''ll get some warmer weather and nesting activity will increase again.

Comments

Photo comment By Emma Tiller: This is so interesting. What happened next? Did any bees nest in the cut bamboo?

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