If you have any solitary bees in the garden make sure they don't leave. If you don't have any, try attracting them for the sake of plants and flowers. You can do this by building yourself a refuge for solitary bees, a real beehive made to measure for these insects, or by buying one already made. For both, here you will find all the useful information!
The solitary bees, of which about 960 species have been observed in Italy alone, belong to the superfamily of Apoidea Hymenoptera which also includes the honey bee or Apis mellifera. Compared to the latter, however, solitary bees have different habits. The first is that they love a more solitary life, otherwise they wouldn't be called that, the second is that in terms of pollination solitary bees they beat the domestic 'sisters'.
A scientific study published in the journal Science has shown that solitary bees perform a more effective pollination service than domestic bees, especially over a reduced range. In practice the domestic bees honey producers are able to explore and pollinate a larger area, but if the scope of the intervention is limited to the vegetable garden or garden, the solitary bees to work better.
So if you have a small land to pollinate and you are not interested in producing honey (solitary bees do not produce it!) More than hives you have to think about shelters for solitary bees. Without being afraid because the solitary bees, despite being equipped with a sting, they very hardly sting and welcome with indifference whoever approaches their nest. But how is a hive for solitary bees?
How to build a solitary bee shelter
Each insect has its own preferences, even in terms of nests. At solitary bees hollow corridors with a blind end with a diameter between 4 mm and 12 mm and a length ranging from 12 to 20 cm are needed. Bamboo canes, common canes or wooden logs perforated using drill bits of different sizes are fine. You can also use straws for drinks or PVC pipes, taking care to close one end.
For building a classic refuge for solitary bees we need:
- 1 wooden log of 20 cm cut in half lengthwise;
- 1 wooden tablet (22 cm x 12 cm) with a thickness of 1 cm;
- 1 wooden tablet (22 cm x 13 cm) with a thickness of 1 cm;
- some bamboo canes, herbaceous plant stems or elderberry branches of the same length as the trunk;
- strong twine or wire;
- drill with wooden bits of various sizes;
- vinyl glue.
And here's the procedure:
1. first of all, some holes of different diameters are made on one of the two faces of the socket, so as to make blind-bottom tunnels;
2. then the boards are used to build the roof: the centimeter of difference between one board and the other allows them to be overlapped and nailed;
3. to secure the roof to the log, use twine or iron wire, passing it through two holes made on the boards so that it wraps around the log and can be blocked with knots;
4. the twine is also used to hang the shelter once it is finished, passing it under the joint of the roof for a long time;
5. fixed the cover to the log and inserted the string that will be used to hang the shelter, the empty space between the roof and the log must be filled with bamboo canes and other hollow materials. Obviously, these too must be completely blind in order not to become corridors for the wind. If you don't have this material available, you can get it here:
Wooden Nesting Tubes for Bees
6. the vinyl glue, slightly diluted with water, should be passed with the brush on the external part of the roof and will act as protection especially near the holes with the knotted string.
Where to buy a solitary bee shelter
If you don't have time to build your rrefuge for solitary bees, do not worry. Online you will find some different and well-made ones at an affordable price, with home delivery.
Basic solitary bee shelter
Shelter for solitary hive-type bees
5 star solitary bee shelter