bee business

I hung this bee nest under the porch roof at my cabin last spring. (Yes, that’s a tiger mask you see on the tree to the right.) I received it as a gift, and not only did I feel virtuous providing a place for solitary bees to lay eggs but I hoped it would help keep the carpenter bees from drilling holes in the side of my wooden cabin to do the same.

Nothing happened for months. Each visit I would check the nest, and each visit would show me nothing. I began to suspect that these nests were made more for the human consumer than the insect.

When I visited the cabin last week, however, I saw this:

Clearly the word has gotten out that the rent-free condos are available. I’m not sure what to make of the bits of grass coming out of the cavities, though I suspect it’s to hinder any hungry predator for getting the larvae in there. The nesting work should be done by October, and then the hatch will begin in the spring.

Apparently, such manufactured bee nests help and hurt bee populations. They do provide nesting sites, but their proximity to each other has been found to foster the spread of parasitic mites and molds. So from what I’ve read, such nests need to be replaced each year. We’ll see how this one works out.

And I guess the carpenter bees don’t want a pre-made hole. They seem to need to make one of their own. I found this fresh violation on the side of the cabin on my last visit.

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