I found myself with some free time this week as it was too damn hot for me to get in the welding shop. Aside from installing two new jungle bird sculptures at the botanic gardens I mostly just knocked around the garden trying to rescue my plants from the hot, dry, wildfire winds blowing through the county. I wasn’t sure I’d have anything to offer up for Fiesta Friday #16 but, like it or not, I am going to share with you my latest garden project while I scarf down some of these gorgeous snacks!
Yesterday I was poking around gardening sites on the web and happened onto one about building homes for solitary bees. I didn’t know anything about these little guys but apparently there are hundreds of bee species that don’t live in colonies. Unlike honeybees, they make nests in holes in old wood or in the soil. They don’t live there, but fill the hole with nectar and pollen, lay their eggs and then close up the hole with mud, leaves or other organic goodies and leave their babies to fend for themselves.
If you’ve read the news at all in the last decade you probably know that bee populations are declining rapidly due to “various causes,” (aka the rampant use of poisonous chemicals like Round Up, Sevin, and malathion in U.S. agriculture and home gardens). Sadly there is still a lot of misinformation out there about what is safe and what is toxic, not only to humans but to bees, worms, ladybugs and other creatures who are very important to the health and survival of our earth.
Fact is, without bees we are kind of screwed. Bees are the mac-daddies of pollinators and without pollinators everything will pretty much die. You’ve seen those post-apocalyptic films where everything is dead except scary tattooed people and giant cockroaches? That’s what’s in store for us if the bees disappear.
Ahem, how did I get up there? Sorry. I swear I don’t usually bring my soapbox to parties! I wonder if that’s why I’m so rarely invited twice? Anyway, today I decided to make a bee house using stuff I had around. We like to reuse and repurpose and I’m also too lazy to go shopping, so I went hunting around the yard for materials. My eye spied an empty wooden bird house about 6″ deep with a hinged front panel that could be used as a roof to protect the bees from rain. Based on my very limited knowledge I decided it was just right.
I then walked around the yard and collected up sticks, bamboo and dried grapevines. I settled down on the shop steps and cut them to 7-8″ lengths. Then I drilled holes a few inches into them and placed them in the box. After much cutting, drilling, filing, shifting, squeezing, and a small amount of cursing I managed to get a pretty good collection to fit tightly into the box. I could probably have added a few more holes but I have a short attention span and there was this butterfly and, well, you know how it goes.
And that’s that! It already had a hook so I hung it on the fence where it should get dappled sunlight all day. If you’re interested in trying this yourself just search for how to build a bee house online. There’s plenty of useful information out there, much more than you’ll find here. I really liked this post over at Little Eco Footprints.
I’ll be checking it regularly hoping someone moves in and you know I will keep you all posted. Happy Friday everyone, have a fantastic weekend!
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