Recently the local council called me and asked if anything could be done about some bees nesting in a wall. I went to investigate and found a nesting site home to many blue banded bees.
I talked to some locals who told me the garden bed that the bees were nesting in would soon be removed and I wanted to save as many as possible. Watch the video below to see what I did.
Tips For Making Blue Banded Bee Nesting Boxes
This exercise taught me many things about blue banded bees and their nesting habits. Blue banded bees like a particular soil moisture content. I noted that the rammed earth block was the most successful over the sand. Soil for this was taken from under my house and mixed with a small amount of garden soil. The bees didn’t seem to like it until it had dried out somewhat.
The nest ? thing I learned is that 1 blue banded bee attracts more blue banded bees. When the nesting boxes were first placed down they didn’t get a look in by the bees. It was as if they didn’t want to know about them. Some pre-drilled holes and adding some soil from where they preferred to nest got their attention. My guess is that the soil must contain the scent of other bees visiting but who knows?
Then I noticed that this location was shielded from the weather. Concrete pillars under the eves ensured the soil stayed dry and protected from the weather. The location drew many other types of bees, some of which I had never seen before. I have returned and placed some more nesting boxes since.
Making your own hotel
Below is a nesting box I am working on to house blue banded bees. Remember these will be kept dry once compacted. I have used just pine from a pallet to construct it. Use screws over nails due to the force that will be exerted on the box during compacting the dirt. Fill with soil and then wet slightly. Then use a mallet and block to compact the soil in.
I remember from talking to John Klummp about his nesting boxes that he wet the soil down a minimal amount to help with the compacting of it. So this is what I did. If you haven’t seen John’s amazing nesting site for his bees, check it out in the video below. A lot to be learned.
Here are some links to go look at for yourself if you have interest in housing some blue banded bees of your own.