Enhancing Habitat & Drilling, Drilling, Drilling

The seeds we’ve collected from native plants have been planted so know we can focus on the insect habitats and bee nest box structure.

Chinese Mantid on a log

Chinese Mantid checking out the new insect habitat structure at Cherry Creek… and we’re just getting started

The first structure we’re building is made from pallets, pavers and a variety of natural materials.  MJ took several photos so we’ll see if we can get those posted. MJ and I filled the first layer with pine cones, goldenrod stems, dried milkweed pods, bark and cattails. The next layer has several logs with holes drilled in them, prairie hay, more pine cones, sticks and well… this is where we’ve quickly learned that we need to collect a lot more materials to fill such a grand structure. We hope to make it four pallets high before winter arrives.  So off to collect more materials. Funny, how you start eyeballing other people’s yard waste set out for curbside recycling.

houses for native bees

Some of the scrap lumber being cut & drilled to create native bee nesting blocks. We’re doing the same with logs

The Native Bee Nest Box structure is also a work in progress. We went to a surplus area and found a great table and bookcase made of solid wood. The wood will be treated with natural preservatives, but it is meant to be outdoors so that’s where it is headed. The bookshelf will be screwed into the top of the table. This is the housing for the bee nest boxes. I’ve been collecting scrap lumber and logs.  There has been a lot of sawing, drilling and sanding. Each piece of lumber has 1/4″, 3/18″ or 5/18″ holes drilled in it – varying from 3-6″ deep. The pvc pipe sections will hold phragmites and bamboo tubes. In addition to scrap lumber, natural logs will fill in the gaps.

Lots of work to do before winter sets in…

Here’s to Sharing the Buzz!

Soni

First layer of insect hotel, filling pallet with pine cones and plant material.

First layer of insect hotel, filling pallet with pine cones and plant material.

Building insect hotel.  Filling layers as we add pallets.

Building insect hotel. Filling layers as we add pallets.

UNL Extension provides research-based information to help you make informed decisions any time, any place, anywhere – http://lancaster.unl.edu

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It is Pollinator Week!

Insect Hotel

Insect Hotel

To celebrate Pollinator Week, June 17-23, I would like to tell you about my insect hotel.  This is a fun and easy project that the whole family can be involved with.

An insect hotel is a manmade structure created from mainly natural materials. They can come in a variety of shapes and sizes depending on the specific purpose or insect it is built for. Most hotels consist of several different sections that provide insects with nesting areas, offering shelter or refuge for many types of beneficial insects.

I first saw this idea in a garden magazine earlier this year. I wanted to know more so I Google the concept and was amazed at what I found. Insect hotel are quite common in Europe and have been featured at the Chelsea Flower Show. I found a few site about them in the United States, but it is not a well known concept. I was also fascinated at how artistic the construction of them could be.
After much research, I knew I wanted to build one in my own yard. I planned my design to fit the chosen place in my landscape. I began my search for supplies. I visited my local Eco Store and found everything I needed. I purchased 7 boards, 42 bricks (whole and broken) and 2 large Spanish style roof tiles to construct my insect hotel. Total cost was $18. The dimensions of my insect hotel are: 42 in tall, 24 in wide and 14 in deep. My hotel is filled with twigs, small branches, logs, bark, dried leaves, hay and 6 inch long hollow phragmites stems.

The insect hotel has held up well with all the rain. I have many flowering plants in bloom now, plus my herb and vegetable gardens are nearby too. I am hoping that my insect hotel will be filled with beneficial insects soon.

MJ

Nasty weed’s one good use

phragmites bundles

We will be using these stems for solitary bee nesting sites.

Phragmites is a nasty weed that is clogging Nebraska’s water ways.  We have found a use for it.  The hollow stems make a perfect nesting site for solitary bees. One of our co-workers, Vicki, collected stems during the winter for us to use.  I have cut them 6 inches long and bundled them together.  We will add them to the insect hotel we will be building.

MJ

UNL Extension provides research-based information to help you make informed decisions any time, any place, anywhere – http://lancaster.unl.edu