Friday, September 23, 2011

Bee Nesting Block

Early this spring we created a number of bee nesting blocks for a program Jennifer helped present and, of course, also created one for ourselves.  We found the plans in this great book put out by the Xerces Society:

We first thought to use some of the old 4x4s laying around, but opted against them since they are treated.  We purchased a nontreated 4x4 from a local big box store and got to work.  First, cut to length!

Angle cut the top of the bee block and add a roof as well.  We want all the best for our bee friends!

Draw a pattern with specified spacing for specified hole sizes (see book) and drill the holes.


Early this spring, we placed our bee block in our garden by setting it on a cabinet and facing it east to help minimize weather effects.  Take a look at those holes in September!

Yeh!  Many are now plugged by the adult female bees.  There are probably 3 or so bee larvae in each hole now, each in their own cell created by the adult bee.  Most will emerge next spring/summer. 

What an easy project to help attract native bees to your garden for all their pollinating services! 


  1. Mason Bees?

    I first read about bee blocks too late in the Spring, but to be brutally honest with myself, I'll never get around to it. Make more! Sell them on Etsy!


    Oh, one other thing. The plans I looked at showed an extra step -- wrapping a piece of parchment paper around a pencil and stuffing it into the hole. After the nest is filled, you can pull out the paper and its nest. But why? If you remove one nest, and store it?, will they keep building over and over?

    Clearly I have a lot of reading to do... just thought you might know.

  2. Native bees typically do not nest in this dense of concentration. By inserting paper and removing them in the winter and releasing them in the spring, you prevent the larvae from accumulating in the block and becoming hosts to many parasites. I put paper in some, but figure perhaps I will just put out a new bee nesting block in the spring and put this one out in such a way that the larvae can mature and leave, but no new bees can nest. It's so exciting! Thanks for the thoughts and making and selling too. :)

  3. So cool!!

    Love the idea of making and selling these:)


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