Saturday, March 16, 2013

Bee box housekeeping

Finally, after much procrastination, I took down the bee box I made in 2009 and cleaned it up. Well, actually, all I did was pull out the plastic straws I'd inserted and cleaned out the tubes. I bought some paper straws, as recommended by a bee expert Michael Warriner. But they're much too small in diameter. Darn it. So I'm going to leave the tubes as they are...a la natural.

Anybody need a box of paper straws made of birch? Or maybe I can use them for something else....


Marilyn Kircus said...

Thanks for reminding us that is time to invite bees to our property. Everyone needs to help them as much as possible because both honey bees and our native bee species are in serious decline. And since they are responsible for 1/3 of our food production, we really need their help.

I worked on a bee project and then a bee display last summer at Malheur NWR. I found that he most important thing you can do to prevent disease is to either make new houses every year, or use the paper straws. And you can actually pull the straws out in the fall and store them in another dark container with one exit hole - some people even store the in their refrigerators. Sometimes it takes 2 years for all the bees to hatch out.

Making the straws is easy - just wrap parchment paper - the kind you buy to bake with - around a pencil. Then stick the straw in the bee tunnel and let it expand to fit. If you drill the holes all the way through the bee block, you can make the straws an inch or two longer than the tunnel, fold them down and screw on a thing piece of wood to close off the back.

Another interesting thing I learned is that the bee lays female eggs in the back of the tunnel and male bees toward the front. So the males are sacrificed to feed the birds. The longer the tube, the more females you'll end up with.

Sheryl Smith-Rodgers said...

WOW WOW WOW! Thank you thank you for the wonderful information, Marilyn!!!!!!! I'm going to look into your suggestions etc.

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