A Home for Bees

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!

paoloandfrancesca
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.

bee house in progress
bee house in progress

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.

bee house made from stuff around the yard
bee house made from stuff around the yard

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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35 Comments Add yours

  1. So cool, Sheri! I want one. 🙂

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    1. Sheri Fox says:

      Aren’t they cool? I hope I get some bees!

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  2. Kay says:

    I like your resourcefulness. I will be waiting for your update.

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    1. Sheri Fox says:

      Thanks Kay! I hope I have something exciting to report 🙂

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  3. Hi Sheri, I love the bird sculptures, they are stunning, and the bee box looks like a work of art in itself! Thank you for bringing this to this weeks party and for telling us about solitary bees, I knew about the declining bee population but not about these little guys. Great to meet you, have a fab weekend 🙂

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    1. Sheri Fox says:

      Sorry Elaine, I found your message in my spam just now after seeing it quoted by Angie. I’m so confused! ugh, computers 😛 Anyway, thank you for your comments. I love being able to share little tidbits like this. Now if I can just convince some bees to move in… see ya at the next party 🙂 sheri

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      1. Oh no, I wonder why?? Anyway, thank you for finding my comment!

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        1. Sheri Fox says:

          I don’t know, very weird! Glad I found you though 🙂

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  4. thebrookcook says:

    Cool! I have to put this on my “to do” list… after making a bat house! 🙂

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    1. Sheri Fox says:

      Nice! I’ve thought about a bat house too. I think it’s pretty simple? I hope you’ll share pics when you find time to make one. 🙂

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      1. thebrookcook says:

        I think it is simple… we might even make them with my daughter’s girl scout troop! It will be a post for sure 🙂

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        1. Sheri Fox says:

          Cool, I look forward to it!

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  5. Excellent information that I did not know. Love being informed (great design on the bee house too and I’m a picky designer type).

    Thanks for bringing us up to speed at the party!

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    1. Sheri Fox says:

      Thank you and you’re welcome! I appreciate it esp from a picky designer type 😉 I’m always trying to balance form and function. Hopefully I nailed it, but if bees don’t love it at least it’s cute.

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      1. I am sure the bees will be outbidding each other to get in. If not, it is most certainly a stunner to the eye. For all of our sakes though, I hope your noton to house bees is a success.

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  6. I can’t wait to hear if your bee box has been a success with the bees – how exciting! It does look very pretty too – great job!

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    1. Sheri Fox says:

      Thanks Selma! I will be so amazed if bees move in. How cool would that be? Ahhh, simple pleasures. Enjoy your Sunday 🙂

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  7. annamadeit says:

    Hi Sheri! Thanks for following my blog! After I saw this blog post, I figured you’d like my friend Sarah’s six-part series on bees. They are so informative, and I’m afraid I have to confess that before I met her, I thought the problem was mostly about honey bees. Duh, was I wrong!!! Anyway, if you like what she has to say, please pass them on. The world needs to learn about this! http://www.bloglovin.com/viewer?post=2175785195&group=0&frame_type=b&blog=11148593&frame=1&click=0&user=0

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    1. Sheri Fox says:

      Thanks Anna, I’ll check it out! 🙂

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  8. FireBonnet says:

    What a great idea! You have a whole condo complex there. Please let us know if you are successful. Is there any way you can lure them to move in? anyway, it’s great to meet you at the party. I just headed over to Scrap Hound Studio and took a look at your work. I adore your animals, but my favorites are your zen tiles. I can see learning to weld in my future… my degree is in ceramics, but I love all kinds of sculpture!

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    1. Sheri Fox says:

      Wow thanks for visiting ScrapHound 🙂 I love making critters but the zen tiles are a nice departure. Welding is awesome – there’s so much you can do with a torch and a mig. I’m a ceramics nut too. I used to own a craft gallery and became obsessed. You might notice most of my food ends up on hand-built stoneware. As for the bee condo, I’m not sure how to attract them so I’m hoping they just sort of stumble across it. It’s in a nice flowery spot now so I’m crossing my fingers. Off to visit your blog now, thanks so much for stopping by! sheri

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  9. ivyon says:

    You have butterfiles AND you’re crafty?! I’m hooked 😉

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    1. Sheri Fox says:

      haha thanks! Yes, I’m an artist in ‘real life’ and a gardener/butterfly wrangler by addiction. 🙂

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      1. ivyon says:

        Nice 🙂 What kind of art is “your thing”?
        I like that you have your garden, although I know it is a lot of work, it is also probably very satisfying… I would grow only flowers in my garden, and maybe tomatoes and strawberries because of the city pollution…

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        1. Sheri Fox says:

          I’m an artistic welder working mainly in salvaged steel. There’s a link on my sidebar somewhere. ScrapHiund Studio. Growing food is very satisfying. Tomatoes and strawberries are great in urban settings, they do well in pots. And the plants will clean the air for you too 🙂

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          1. ivyon says:

            I will check it out because I had to Google salvaged steel and I still don’t quite get it 😀

            Uh, I know… The place I was living before we had a garden and we had pear, apple and maple tree, grapes growing on a steel platform made for it, bunch of roses, two pine trees and strawberries. And tulips! All that in a garden 7metersx5meters! So, yeah I miss having earth close and trees, and flowers… But I don’t miss that place for living, this here is extremely better. 🙂

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            1. Sheri Fox says:

              It would be hard to leave a nice garden like that behind, but I’m happy to hear you like where you are better. That’s most important to me! Sorry I didn’t explain better what I do. Basically I make sculptures, mostly animals, using metal, a torch and a welder. Check out http://scraphoundstudio.com 🙂

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              1. ivyon says:

                Yeah, it was not my choice but that garden was the only thing nice there, so I am VERY happy that we had to chance to leave… It kinda saved my life that we did. 🙂
                I checked it out and from what I saw I love it! 🙂 ❤

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  10. I have a hive at my house in Rincon Valley, but I have never heard of a bee house? What do they use if for? It doesn’t look big enough for a colony. Just asking… It is very good looking, thank you for sharing

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    1. Sheri Fox says:

      Hi Jim, thanks for asking! This is designed for solitary bees. Unlike honey bees, they don’t colonize, they lay eggs in holes in wood, stone or in the ground. Mason, miner and carpenter are some of the better known solitary bees. They are important pollinators too, but they get overlooked because they don’t make delicious honey. Nice that you keep some bees. I’m hoping to when we move to Petaluma this summer 🙂

      Like

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