Monday 24 February 2014

Installing Bee Hotels and Bird Nest Boxes

Sunday was fine and sunny so I went down to the orchard and installed two bee hotels and two bird nest boxes. I stopped angsting about exactly where and how to fix them and just put them up. All of them are about 2m above the ground and fairly exposed, so they may not be high enough and not protected enough. It didn't help that I have poor balance and needed three hands to manoeuvre these into place and secure them. Since I am frightened of ladders and power tools this wasn't one of my most fun experiences.

A bee hotel made from hollow plant stems of different sizes stuffed into a plastic drain pipe and tied with electrical wire under the perspex roof of the pergola. It faces east - west, but I have a feeling the aspect in this position isn't important. It's fairly well protected from the weather.
 The lovely bee hotel Kath made me, in a fairly open position facing south.
 An open fronted bird nesting box suitable for robins or redstarts made for me by Tim, facing east. Redstarts breed in the orchard every year, but I wonder if this box will be too out in the open for them.
 A bird nesting box suitable for tits made for me by Tim, facing north. This will mostly be in light shade from the paulownia and grape vine. It's not right out in the open, but not very hidden either.
Now we wait and see what, if anything, uses them.

There were lots of honey bees out yesterday, and quite a few butterflies (all Vanessids and Brimstones, who hibernate as adults). I was also joined by a Winter Damselfly and we later saw carpenter bees and paper wasps. None of these will use the insect shelters I've installed -- they are waiting for the emergence of the Megachilid bees such as the European Orchard Bee.

I've done the best I can with my limited resources, but for a somewhat more knowledgeable and experienced view on installing bird nesting boxes, see Tim's post on Aigronne Valley Wildlife.
Memory Failure: Simon has been rummaging around in the boxes stored in the graineterie again. He's unearthed the coat rack made by my father that we've been looking for, a brand new hard drive for the computer, yet more fabric and haberdashery, lots of plastic food containers and a supply of wrapping paper and cards. Amongst the cards was a gift tag, presumably saved from a present to me. It says 'To Suzie, enjoy on its own or with some Wednesday vegetables. This is new hope you like. Lots of love Phil x'. The awful thing is that I cannot remember who Phil is. He was clearly someone familiar enough to address me as Suzie, wish me lots of love and know I went to the farmers' market on Wednesdays. I've racked my brains and tried to recall any former colleague, friend, acquaintance, intern, volunteer, market stallholder, riding companion or fellow student and cannot come up with anyone who fits the bill. I kind of hope he doesn't read the blog, because that would be mortifying for both of us. I wonder what the gift was? At a guess I'd say wine or beer...


Colin and Elizabeth said...


lejardindelucie said...

Bravo pour vos installations Susan!
Oiseaux et insectes trouveront logis à leur convenance. Cela fera de belles observations .

Chez moi, la première (en fait le premier puisque c'est un mâle) Osmia cornuta est né de dessous la table qui est sur la terrasse! Et les mâles d'abeilles charpentières sont aussi présents.
Un de nos nichoirs est occupé par des mésanges bleues, elles trouvent que le trou d'envol n'est pas parfait et le picore un peu de temps en temps!

Susan said...

Lucie: You are obviously a few weeks ahead of us. No nesting activity here that I've noticed, and no Osmia yet.

Pearl said...

hope your bee hotel gets fully booked up.

Susan said...

Pearl: I hope so too. I'm looking forward to seeing what comes.

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