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Siting a box

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Hello all.

I’m hoping for some help.

I’ve been given a bumble bee box.

In fact this one -  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tom-Chambers-Bee-House-WL012/dp/B006MGIOWM

We have a row of lavender about 5ft long and I was going to position it in that, off the ground on a post.

Any help or advice would be appreciated.

Alex

     
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Hi Alex

I have put three similar boxes not so pretty but like basic blue tit boxes with a bee sized hole up in my garden on fence posts about foot off the ground with old blue tit nest material in for insulation and possibly to provide an appropriate smell.I try to put it in a place where it will keep reasonably dry ,gets some sunshine though not full on all the time. I notice queen bees when exploring seem to follow linear features such as walls and fences rather than roundabout in the open.

Over four years have had early bumblebees use one of the boxes successfully three times.

A queen bee tried this year but as we had summery weather in march followed by polar weather with 5” snow in april she lost the battle.

Another queen of the same species was succesful with a nest in a turf pile I had made with buried terracotta pots with mouse and bird nest material in,that must have been a bit warmer.Last year a white tailed bumblebee nest was succesful in the same turf pile.I live in Morayshire so the need for a warm home is important.
                                                      Best of luck Steve

     
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Steve

I’m glad you can put them off the ground - we wanted it in the lavender - about flower height.

But we may put it in the herd garden against a west facing wall.

I’ll choose one and try that for next year!

Alex

     
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Alex,

In a herb garden sounds nice ,usually good nectar plants.

It seems to be mostly early bumblebees (bombus pratorum )? excuse the spelling,that use these so good to have some good early flowers.

A wet nest box can be a problem so west facing in some years could be a problem.

                                          Steve

     
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That’s a lovely box Alex. It’s my birthday next month I’ll have to drop some hints smile

I’d not thought of using old terracotta pots, atm I break up any old cracked ones to use as crocks. Any tips how to make one ?

     
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Hell no! you go first

     
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I put large flower pots in turf piles from when i dig up my lawn to extend vegetable plots.Arrange in “bays"and pile leaves into these to accomodate frogs and toads etc. from pond.
Bury large flower pots in these and leave small access hole exposed and sometimes put in a bit of hosepipe for access.
It isn’t always easy to see if bees are using “official” site or some other cavity once grass has grown up and obscured it all.they don’t like grass too long though i’ve noticed can do a bit of trimming themselves.I always put bedding in.
Early bees seem happy with bluetit sized nestbox though have read bufftailed like something size of a football.
Am going to try under paving slabs and under rocks for next spring.I read that redtailed like under rocks.

     
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OOOH…lots of ideas there, thanks Steve…

     
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Steve: I find it really hard to visualise that - any chance of a picture?

     
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Malcolm - 04 September 2012 09:39 PM

Steve: I find it really hard to visualise that - any chance of a picture?

Hi Malcolm am afraid i haven’t quite reached the 21st century yet it seems a bit scarier than the last one so don’t have digital camera but will try to get someone to take a photo sometime .It’s best to just experiment ,just make sure the pots are completely covered apart from an entrance hole,i saw something on tv once where they nested in some part of an old car so they aren’t proud.I lifted a paving slab in a friend’s garden once and dug a hole underneath about football size in the middle then put back with a tiny entrance hole in the corner,it wasn’t used probably as it was a sunless garden but will try again in a sunny spot this winter when i’ve found some more mouse bedding.Steve

     
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Cheerypeabrain - 04 September 2012 08:16 PM

OOOH…lots of ideas there, thanks Steve…

Hi can I just call you Cheery?hope it helps but don’t be too disapointed if they don’t use them,
at the moment i have at least 8 potential sites contrived for them and have only had maximum of 2 used in any one year.i always give boxes a good clean after use in case of infection but wouldn’t use disinfectant as feel the smell wouldn’t be right.

     
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Duly noted Clive….Cheery is fine with me, or just plain CPB. smile

We have already started an ‘insect hotel’ under the home made arbour…it’s just full of spiders atm altho we have things like ladybirds, lacewings etc in there in the wiinter. I might site it under there…we rarely sit there.

     
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Ooh, so I had this idea that you could use stems of dried cow parsley as impromptu bee nests - it looks like it’s all hollow inside. Has anyone tried this as part of a bug hotel?

     
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Malcolm,  I’ve not used dried cow parsley stems myself but I have read they they are just the job.
This year I left a couple of parsnips to flower (for hover flies) and have now cut down the stems, they are hollow too so will give them a try.  I believe that parsnips and cow parsley are related.

Sparrow - Sue

     
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I recently discovered an old birds nest in a hedge and have now pushed some of the mossy materials into an unused bird box to see if that will make a suitable home for a BB.

Sparrow - Sue

     
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I have tried putting up boxes filled with various sized plant stems but without success.Someone told me where i live in Forres,Morayshire is too cold for bees that would have to sit in a small tube through near polar conditions till next spring which seems to make sense.Maybe better down south?We get a lot of mining bees in the sandy soil and they seem to like nesting amongst birds foot trefoil that only sparsely cover the ground.hope to attract common blue and dingy skipper butterflies as well eventually.