My yard has a lot of visiting bees, I call them my tourists. My idea of making hotels etc. for them, keeps changing with each website I look at. Do any members have good results with their solitary bee hotels, and which bees do they attract successfully.
So far, and my knowledge is limited, I have blue banded, some black shiny bees, big carpenter bees, some small bees?, and quite a few odd ones.
This Group has good info on reed and resin bees and european honey bees,and also native bees, which is very helpful.
When I can afford to buy a good camera, I will try to photograph them.
Lissa, do you have success with your pvc pipes. Untreated wood is good, and I wished I had kept some of the peach tree wood and other branches from my fruit trees when I cut them down. It seems that pithy wood is easy for the bees. I would like to use the wood that we grow in the vicinity of my backyard and see what happens.
From notes collected, it appears that holes 5mm x 120mm deep and 6.5mm x 150mm deep seem to be most commonly chosen abodes.
Do bees drink water?
From your own experiences, do bees hotels face the morning sun. Do they only enter from one end of tubes, or waxed straws.
I suppose the answer is trial and error.
Yes, bees do drink water. They will find what they fancy despite us putting out water for them.
Only tip I can pass along is that none of the solitary bees clean out the nest areas for re-use. So it means we clean them out or we supply new nest sites each year.
Honey bees collect water - I've seen them at the bird bath in my parents yard from their neighbours hive. In my yard they tend to head for the wet soil pots (partly submerged ones with wet soil) and leave the bird bath and the tub water-garden alone.
My social stingless native bees apparently (from memory) get their water from their food sources. I never see them at a water source.
My PVC pipes with straws and bamboo worked well but only once. Once used the tubes would need replacing. I imagine the same would apply to those lovely fancy insect hotels we see on the net and all want.
Blue Banded Bees nest in the holes of the brickwork of my house. Leaf Cutters, Mud Wasps and ants used the bamboo. Small wasps used the straws.
I placed the insect hotels in many different places around the yard and didn't see any preference for direction. Mine are on strings so move in the wind anyway. Insects did seem to enter from the "front" but I didn't do enough observation to confirm this 100%.
Thanks for help, I have not found any holes anywhere yet, in the ground. Our house is set on short stumps so they may be under the house. We don't have brickwork. I may try putting straws in drilled holes in a block of wood and then they can be replaced. The butterflies drink from a dish I have, with rocks in it so that they won't drown.
What is the world coming to, when we start to worry about supplying suitable homes for bees.
It is a bit weird when you think about it.
I look at it from the context that we (humans) have interfered with the world of insects so much we owe it to them to help provide safe places to live. In a chemical free environment.
I have found the information in the Comments very interesting and helpful. Thank You Girls
Is there one of our members who knows how to make the Mud Homes for Solitary Bees. I thought it might be a fun to have a Workshop making these next year. Any Thoughts???????????
Apart from Blue Bandeds, are there other Australian solitary bees who need mud homes? The mud wasps seem to do well with any kind of clayey material available. And presumably mud wasps are beneficial insects but in a different way to bees.
Anyway there has been plenty of experimenting done by members of the Australian Native Bees email list on Yahoo. Although trawling through the archives on Yahoo is a painful time-consuming business. A good Googling could turn up some useful info. There's a mix of sand and clay which Blue Bandeds favour and I do know that those light foam-concrete blocks (forget the proper name) do not work for them - too hard to excavate I believe.