LEARN: 3. Tips for Success
3.3 Drilled Wood and Bamboo
3.3 Drilled Wood and Bamboo in Bee Houses
Improve your nesting habitat: learn how to help your local bees thrive with our expertly designed nesting materials.
We have decades of experience raising hole-nesting bees and we design our nesting materials with the health of bees in mind first. We care about our bees and we want to help you raise native bees with our advice and high-quality nesting materials.
In the wild, nesting sites are naturally far apart and native bees nest in holes that they find in standing dead trees, broken stems, and logs. Over time, natural nesting sites change as dead trees fall and new nesting sites are created.
Unfortunately, man-made nesting holes are attractive to predators because the nesting holes are unnaturally close to each other. Left unmanaged, common pests and diseases like chalkbrood and pollen mites can spread easily and kill the native bee population that you are working to support.
The solutions to these problems are simple. Use nesting holes that can be opened to harvest healthy bee cocoons and remove pests and disease. You can also provide fresh and clean nesting holes every season.
We do not recommend using drilled blocks of wood or bamboo nesting tubes because you can’t safely open and clean these nesting materials. Here are our suggestions for how you can provide better nesting holes that help your local bee population thrive.
Drilled Blocks of Wood
Add our Easy-Tear Inserts to your drilled wood nesting holes and leave a bit of the insert sticking out (0.25") for easy removal in the fall. Easy-Tear Inserts are designed for spring mason bees and work best with drilled holes that are 5/16" in diameter (8mm). You can easily cut the inserts down to the right length of your drilled wood.
Bamboo tube diameters are not uniform and bamboo tubes are usually much bigger than our native bees need. Adding our Easy-Tear Inserts will not work because parasitic wasps will crawl in the spaces between the bamboo tubes and the inserts. Bamboo tubes are also usually secured inside the bee house which makes it difficult for you to provide fresh nesting holes. We recommend following our steps in our Moving Day for Native Bees blog post to upgrade to healthier nesting materials.