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A bee-hotel

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Give beneficial pollinating insects a home in your garden! The female of the mason bee species spends most of her life searching for hollow stems to use as a nest. Those mason bees and other solitary bees are not agressive at all.

They are an important alternative to the classic honey bee especially since the honey bee is in danger due to various ilnesses attributed to radio waves and pesticides which are said to weaken the honey bee.

The mason bees are called 'solitary bees' because they make individual nest cells for their larvae. The solitary bees do not sting but keep the bee hotel out of reach of children who may disturb them.

Here is how to turn a piece of firewood into a bee-hotel. Use only food-grade woods. That is: Zeder or Eucalyptus are not suitable. Good wood types are e.g: Beech, Birch, Maple, Ash.


A piece of dry maple wood


Dill about 5 cm (2 inch) long holes into the fron of the wood. The holes should have a diameter of 5mm to 8mm (6/32 to 10/32 inch). You can drill holes of different sizes if you want. The holes should be spaced about 1.5cm (around 1/2 inch) apart.


Holes dirlled into the wood


Install the bee-hotel in a dry place (no rain onto the bee-hotel). It should as well be a bit protected from exessive heat (not in the full afternoon sun).


The bee hotel installed in a dry place

The first guests

You know that you have found a good spot for the hotel if a bee has laid her eggs into a hole and closed it with earth and clay. This should happen in summer after a 1-2 month. If nobody moved in then the spot is either too hot and sunny or to wet.


A mason bee has laid there eggs (in two holes, on the left and one the right)

FAQ

Q: What is the difference between a wasp and a bee?
A: Bees are not interested in human food. If you eat outside and are being molested then those are wasps. Wasps have bright yellow stripes and no hair. Bees have more brown yellow stripes or almost no stripes and clearly visible hair on their back and the legs.

Q: We have clever in full blossom on our lawn and my child stepped bare foot onto a bee. What shall I do?
A: Act as quickly as possible. Located the skin area where your child was stung and suck the poison with your mouth out. You will notice a bitter taste. Just spit it out. If you do this within a few seconds after the child was stung then your child will not have any symptoms at all. Not even a swollen foot.

References


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