We have partnered exclusively with Bee With Me to bring you a limited quantity of custom made Native Solitary Bee Houses. This is a great way to get started without breaking the bank and taking a first step towards providing habitat for native bees. Attract multiple species of solitary hole nesting bees.Includes:
- U.S. Handmade Sustainable Harvested Hardwoods
- 25 Mixed Diameter Nesting Tubes – 4mm, 6mm, 8mm
- Plantable instruction card
- Mounting Screw
- 1 Bee With Me Stickers
This is not for Honey bees. Please read below for more information.
Choose a southeast facing location that receives morning sun and afternoon shade. Bees are cold-blooded, so they need the sun’s warmth to get going. Install the house at eye level so that you can easily watch activity. Installing the bee house is easy. It’s like hanging a picture or putting up a birdhouse. Most solitary bees only travel about 300 ft from their nesting site. So it is a good idea to mount it close to your Garden Tower® Vertical Vegetable Garden or other garden areas to get the full benefit of their pollination.
Most people think about honeybees, but solitary nesting bees are super pollinators. They have special hairs on the underside of their bellies. Pollen is carried dry and loose on the large surface area of their hairy bellies, and falls off easily at every flower they visit. One solitary bee can carry out the pollination action of 100 to 200 honeybees! Since they don’t produce honey or have a colony to protect, they are also non-agressive making them very safe for children and pets to be around.
Why it’s important to have a native bee house
- With the constant grooming of property, the natural nesting areas the bees would use tend to get removed. By providing a native bee house, you’re giving the bees a chance to increase their population on their property.
- The benefit to you and the bees: By providing them nesting to increase their population, they’re providing you with pollination. Not only will it significantly increase your yield of food production in your gardens, but your native scape will thrive!
- Increasing the population of bees, increases the chances of building a greener, healthier future.
- DO NOT BUY Bees or Cocoons unless ensured from an absolute local source of native species. With the vast variety of species in the US, there is only 1 species being sold commercially, and very likely it is not native to your backyard. Introducing a non-native species becomes invasive and immediately creates a new competition for the same resources as your native species. This is the most damaging part of this industry as there are companies selling cocoons, knowing well the adverse impact of doing so, (and selling imported cocoons, of which many are parasitized).
- Do not use any pesticides.
- If you paint or stain your bee house, let it season with no nesting for a year to remove any chemical scent.
- Do not use bamboo, drilled holes, wood blocks, or reeds (if purchased).
- Bamboo is not native, retains moisture increasing bacteria and pathogen development. The interior wall lining of bamboo can also damage the wings of the bees.
- Drilled holes / wood blocks retain moisture increasing bacteria and pathogen development. Over time this will significantly adversely impact the health of the colony and potentially wipe out the population. The wood blocks also tend to lose shape due to weather changes and lose shape for a proper nesting hole completely mitigating the efficacy of the product.
- Reeds (if purchased) are invasive to your property carrying bacteria and pathogens not native to your property. This can in turn introduce new diseases that native species do not have the immunity to combat. If you have local native reeds and lake bed reeds in your environment, you can harvest those and turn them into native bee nesting tubes. ( Instructions in video how to use native reeds).
- Hang the bee house in the shade or facing the wrong direction. If you have a very shady property, find the best place to capture the morning Sun for the bees. This warms them up quickly so they can get to work collecting pollen and pollinating your property.
- Above ground hole nesting bees are solitary.
- Only the females use the nesting tubes.
- One female per nesting hole to lay 8-15 cells per 6” nesting tube.
- Each species is specific to diameter of nesting hole.
- There’s over 1,000 species of above ground hole nesting bees in the US alone. They emerge based on temperature and resources.
- Each species is specific for a particular type of nesting substrate they use to create the cell chambers from mud, leaves, and resin.
- They only live 6-8 weeks from when they emerge.
- They only fly about 300 ft from their nesting site.
- They are all hairy bees. The hair collects the pollen by simply sticking to it.
- Every flower the bee lands on becomes pollinated due to pollen loosely attached by the hairs.
- These bees are the super pollinators of the world!
- Paper tubes produced in sterile conditions are one of the safest and best solutions for native bees. It provides a clean and consistent diameter hole that is optimal to attract native bees. Of all of the species of hole nesting bees, 4mm, 6mm, and 8mm holes are the sizes the bees are looking for to start their nesting site.
- Organic polymer nesting trays are also another great option. Organic polymers produced under the proper parameters with UV / Weather protection barriers provide a nesting environment completely free of chemicals, while the nesting trays do not warp over time. These generally have a lifetime of 10 years for re-use.
- Length of nesting is crucial for the success of a population development. 6” nesting tends to be ideal. Any less and it will not allow the female to lay enough cells for female / male cells per nesting tube. Any longer in length, in many circumstances, the female won’t have enough energy to fill a tube with cell chambers.
- Each filled nesting tube, depending on the species of bee, will contain 8-15 cell chambers, of which each is filled with 1 cocoon. The cocoons from this year become your manageable populated bee for next year.
- Exterior housing can be of any shape. What’s most important are 2 primary factors.
- The exterior house protects the nesting materials from the rain and excess sun.
- The house should not contain a high volume of nesting materials.
- This is absolutely crucial for a very important reason. If there is any disease or parasites in a particular season, they can destroy the entire healthy population in 1 year. Some native bee houses contain >200 nesting holes. For reference, let’s just say you had a very successful nesting year and 100% of the nesting tubes are filled, but… there is a contamination of disease. You now will potentially lose a population of approximately 2,000 bees for the following year if the entire population gets attacked. In nature, it’s very rare for there to be so many optimal nesting holes available, which, keeps contamination spread apart. Our houses consist of 25 nesting holes per house. This way, if there is any disease or predation, it will not contaminate a high volume of the cocoons. The bee houses are designed to be able to spread around on your property from the front yard and backyard providing a diversity of location for the bees to choose. You’ll see that not only will some species choose different locations, but, there will be a primary location for the diversity of the species you have.
Diversity - Know the Difference
- Did you know, there’s over 4,000 native species of bees in the US alone and over 20,000 in the world. Of the 4,000 native species of bees, not 1 produces honey. It’s a common misconception that the honey bees are the bees we need to save. But, it’s the native species that’s being threatened. Of the 4,000 species of bees in the US, over 1,000 species nest above ground in holes, while the vast majority of the rest nest in the ground.
- Above ground, hole nesting bees vary greatly in different size, color, and season from which they emerge to. Some are so small and some get easily mistaken for house flies.
- What they all have in common is that they are all rather hairy. These hairs are used to collect the pollen as they land inside of a flower. Unlike the honey bee, which wet stacks the pollen on its rear legs, hole nesting native bees simply belly flop into the flower and the pollen gets stuck to them.
- You may also notice wasps flying around or nesting in some bee tubes. This is totally ok and great to observe. These solitary wasps are the gardeners’ best friend attacking all of the pests that are eating your plants. Do not get concerned if you see wasps going inside of the tubes. They do not attack the bees.
Tips for success
- No chemicals / pesticides
- Increase bio-diversity of your flora
- Observe nesting
- Follow the tips
What to look out for if no bees are nesting
- Are you or neighbors using pesticides
- Do you have pollinator friendly plants
- Is your bee house facing Sunrise
- Is your bee house in a sunny environment
- Do you have ants taking over your bee house
- Are birds / squirrels going after the nesting tubes
What to do in the Spring
- After the last snow melts hang bee house eye height, in sunny spot, with opening facing sunrise
- If you have cocoons from previous season harvest, place your Spring bee species cocoons above the nesting tubes pushed toward the back of the nesting house. They will start to emerge with temperature and pollen in the air
What to do in the Summer
- Remove any filled tubes and replace with equal diameter tube in the same spot.
- Store tubes in a safe spot, such as a box that can maintain humidity and prevent predation, in a non-temperature controlled environment such as a shed or garage.
- If you have cocoons from the previous season harvest, place your Summer bee species cocoons above the nesting tubes pushed towards the back of the nesting house. (do not remove any unfilled tubes during this time to place cocoons, as some may be occupied and will confuse the bees) simply place cocoons by hand and use a gentle tool, such as a Q tip to push them towards the back of the house).
- Remove filled tubes throughout the season and replace with an equal diameter tube in the same position. This is best done at dusk for the least interruption to the bees.
What to do in the Fall
- Store all filled tubes and try to keep separated for sorting from the late Spring / Early summer filled tubes to the during Summer / Early fall filled tubes
- Keep stored in safe environment non-temperature controlled
What to do in the Winter
- Harvest cocoons Spring tubes late December / Early January
- Harvest cocoons Summer tubes Mid-February
- The reason for the difference of time of harvest is to ensure the larvae have formed into cocoons which are easily handleable and ensure higher survivability
- Keep cocoons separated by the season from which was harvested for placement in the new growing season to come
- Store cocoons in a safe environment in a non-temperature control
What to do if there are pests / parasites
- There’s two distinctions of pest / parasites: inside the nesting tubes, outside the nesting tubes.
- Outside the nesting tube pests, include ants, spiders, birds, squirrels. They all want the pollen, except the spider of course (and depending on what spider is inhabiting the nesting house)
- For Ants: this is the trickiest one, but, a simple solution. Take a tray, dish, or pan you can place water in and use a flat stone or any substrate that won’t be impacted by water and place in the center of the water holding device. Then place your bee house on top of the stone / substrate. The ants will not be able to get to the nesting house any longer. This also works with spiders. The main thing with this, to avoid mosquitos or stagnant water, (do so in the evening particularly to not interrupt the bees), once per week, clean the tray and add new water.
- For birds and squirrels, you can simply add chicken wire to the front opening of the bee house to prevent the predators access to the nesting tubes.
- For inside the tube parasites: there’s not much to do for this except be aware and remove.
- Pollen mites: these little parasites don’t want to intentionally kill the bees, but, they are voracious in sourcing pollen. Once they’re inside the tube and consume the pollen inside of the cell chamber, they will bore their way into the cocoons to get any pollen and continue to bore into other cell chambers killing each cocoon as they move on. There’s very little to prevent this except for the harvesting of the cocoons, as to why this is so important to do seasonally. For if pollen mites do exist, you’re saving the cocoons they didn’t get to yet. The bees pick up these mites as they’re flying around from flower to flower.
- Chalkbrood is a fungus that severely impacts the larvae / cocoons development leading to death. Any chalkbrood cocoons harvested should be discarded and any cocoons within that nesting tube should be cleaned to prevent the spread of chalkbrood upon the bee emerging in the season. Also, wash hands thoroughly to prevent spreading the spores to other cocoons.
How to help the success of our pollinators
- Plant and/or let thrive a diversity of your native floral plants around your property.
- Diversify your native flora from hardwood trees, flowering shrubs, flower beds
- Plant a garden
- Do not use any pesticides
- Minimize pest infestation of the bee house
- Educate your neighbors, schools, and community with the information and resources on regenerative ag with native bees
- Gift a bee house to your friends and family to increase nesting sites for the native bees
Where do we deliver to?
- We offer services to all states and provinces of the USA, Canada and select regions of Europe
- Be aware that we can not collect duties/tarrifs/taxes for our international customers (any/all taxes/duties/fees which apply are the responsibility of the purchaser/importer).
- We’re now shipping to select European countries by airmail via the USPS Priority International and Express International services. Though these services are reasonably fast in terms of transport, customs delays will vary by nation and are outside of our control. Delays at port of entry (customs) are not unusual.
- We do have distributors in Australia, Canada, Germany, UK
How do we ship?
- Garden Towers are very large and are classified as oversize by UPS, FEDEX, and the USPS (80lb or 90lbs rates apply)
- Standard shipping takes 3-6 business days to the lower 48 states
- Canada shipments reach customs is 2-4 days and typically take one week for passage and transport in Canada depending on the destination
- Most orders ship within 2 business days
How much will shipping cost?
- Add a product to your shopping cart, view your shopping cart or begin checkout to calculate shipping costs. Shipping cost “estimates” are actual charges and will not be adjusted after your order is processed.
- Expedited 1-2 day shipping is available at a premium