On a whim, we purchased two bee hotels from Costco. We sealed the roof of each house with just a simple outdoor linseed oil from Home Depot. I’ve read a lot of different articles and seen a lot of pictures of bee hotels for native bees, spread around gardens. I don’t really know if they work. But I figure it can’t hurt!
Unsure if any bees will take residence this year, the paper wasps sure have taken notice. They seem to really like the top compartment, where I assume they have room to fully form their nest.
They built in the top area almost as soon as we had it hung up. Because paper wasps (Polistes dominula) is a pollinator as well, we haven’t taken measures to try and stop them. My only concern there is that next year (or perhaps later this year), because the hotel is hung off of our deck, that if the paper wasps might expand, building satellite nests perhaps in our frequently used areas.
I’m also not sure if because the wasps inhabit the space, wild bees might be deterred from settling down in the neighborhood.
We added a smaller metal mesh over the bamboo filled cubbies to hopefully deter birds from trying to peck or steal any larva that may get laid there by wild bees. The house in the picture in this post hangs facing south for warmth and good sun exposure. The other hotel hands from a black locus tree in the back garden, with a bit more shade cover from the tree.
With the exception of honey bees and bumblebees, the rest of the Colorado bee species are solitary bees. There are approximately 950 varieties of bees in Colorado alone. Put up a bee hotel somewhere near your house and watch what happens. Or you can build your own! There are some great online DIY guides for how to build or make your own bee hotels for native bees. And there are some really beautiful pictures out there of extravagant designs.
We’ll see! Just another experiment!