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Old 06-14-2010, 04:46 PM   #11
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I've used 1/4, 3/16, and 1/8 inch holes with good success. I've found that a brad point pit gives the cleanest holes. Bees don't like to use holes that have a lot of "stickers" in them. Drilling perpendicular to the grain helps a lot.

The leafcutters are one of the bees that really like the 1/4 inch holes. The smaller holes get filled, but I don't know which species of bee is using them.
Excellent! I'll try it. Thanks!
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Old 06-14-2010, 06:29 PM   #12
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Wow! I never thought of drilling holes for bees! There is just so much to learn!
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Old 06-14-2010, 06:36 PM   #13
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You're welcome. But I think the real thanks goes to you and Bridget1964! You're going to be out their spreading the word and teaching people about pollinators. I've always considered teaching to be one of the noble professions. And teaching others about the natural world is a critical need. Kudos to you and Bridget1964 for getting out there and doing it.
Thanks, Cirsium! I do love teaching my students (as often as possible) about the natural world. When John and I go out to 'table' at one of these events, it is such a cool opportunity for us to teach together. The refuge usually gives us a display, but we always bring our own stuff to enhance it! Last fall we went to Cattus Island and were supposed to have a birding scope set up on the boardwalk. We did, but we also took five monarch butterflies that had emerged that previous day. Boy, did those butterflies get a lot of attention! People were so interested in learning about their life cycle and their long distance migration. To make it even more exciting, I let quite a few people hold the butterflies and a few kids had the opportunity to release them for me. It definitely was a rewarding day for everyone involved!
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Old 06-16-2010, 06:00 PM   #14
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I've used 1/4, 3/16, and 1/8 inch holes with good success. I've found that a brad point pit gives the cleanest holes. Bees don't like to use holes that have a lot of "stickers" in them. Drilling perpendicular to the grain helps a lot.

The leafcutters are one of the bees that really like the 1/4 inch holes. The smaller holes get filled, but I don't know which species of bee is using them.
OK, so I did the drilling. Using all aliens for the wood, if it works it will be one instance of alien species assisting the proliferation of highly desirable insects.

On one project I nailed a piece of strapping to the back of an 8" "log" and wedged the strapping in the juncture of the main trunk and branches at the top of the bole of the cut down Japanese Maple. The "log" came from a huge Buckthorn that I cut down a few weeks ago. It has about a 9 or 10" diameter. Those holes, all 5/16, were drilled with the grain.

On the actual bole of the JM, I drilled all three size holes,1/8, 1/4 and 5/16, totalling perhaps fifty holes in all. Problem was that the sap is still in the bole, and as I drilled, the moisture was seeping from the holes. That tree isn't yet dead, though its days are certainly numbered. The holes drilled there are all against the grain.

When I get to look over my new instructions on how to post pictures, I'll take some of the whole operation. Of course, if I actually get the bees to use it - well, that will definitely call for pictures
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Old 06-16-2010, 07:08 PM   #15
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what a fitting end for a beautiful albeit non-native tree!
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Old 06-22-2010, 01:10 PM   #16
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Thought I'd post my most recent video in here. Honey Bees working a yellow form of Asclepias tuberosa.
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Old 06-22-2010, 07:08 PM   #17
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On a trip to the New England Wildflower Society today, I saw a number of native bee houses. They were definitely made by the staff there, but made well. They used solid blocks of wood about 8X6 and drilled holes of six different sizes . I noticed the smaller diameter holes had been already utilized and were plugged by the bees. The two largest size holes were not yet used. They both appeared to be larger than 1/4 inch.

As I had just last week set my own bee house up - I was interested to see they had used the same system. Bees, however, have not yet found the one I made.
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Old 07-04-2010, 02:08 PM   #18
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Well, this is what the project looks like. I've not yet had any takers in my holes. I hope these apartments are to the pollinator's liking.

One difficulty is that the bole still has life in it, and I pick off new buds most every day. I imagine too that the moisture of the tree still makes its presence known in the holes.

The small log strapped onto the top branches with a piece of strapping is a piece of large buckthorn tree I took down in the early spring. I wasn't able to get a good shot of the holes placed in the end of it because of the sun's position.

The plants under the bole are blueberries that love the fact I took the shade provided by the JM away. They are beginning to send up runners and are spreading rapidly.
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National Pollinator Week - June 21 - 27-img_0890.jpg   National Pollinator Week - June 21 - 27-img_0895.jpg   National Pollinator Week - June 21 - 27-img_0898.jpg   National Pollinator Week - June 21 - 27-img_0899.jpg  
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Old 07-05-2010, 08:56 AM   #19
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Your JM is or was, bigger than mine. I still have not gotten around to that project yet, but I like what you did with yours! I am thinking of leaving the snag a bit taller and hanging some plants from them for a bit of color. I will most likely leave the branches that I cut down out to dry for a season and then bury them in the yarden somewhere...
I could drill some holes in the trunk like you did. Are you having trouble with the holes filling with sap?
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Old 07-05-2010, 09:14 AM   #20
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Not filling with sap, but I think that until the moisture leaves the still technically alive tree, the holes will be rejected by the bees due to the dampness. Now, my hope is, though what I excavated may not be quite according to bee specs, and not quite as they would have done it, that they will find it to be easy and well situated in the midst of plenty of nectar sources.

I have some potted dill plants on the deck that are all in flower being swarmed with small bees of varying sizes. I'm wondering where they call home and if they wouldn't rather live nearby???
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