The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Stem bundle nests for bees

Stem nest bundle

Bamboo nest bundleAlthough you may be heartily sick of reading about bee nests after my firewood bee nest post and my post about "small bee towns", I was still gungho and wanted to try another technique.  Stem bundles are probably the easiest type of bee nest you can build, and they may be more effective than my wood block nests since the insides of hollow stems are naturally smooth and conducive to bees.

To make a bamboo stem bundle, cut bamboo into sections just below the node so that each piece has one long tube that's naturally blocked off at the bottom.  If you don't have bamboo, you can use hollow-stemed weeds as long as you find a way to plug the far end --- I'm trying a bit of mud and ashes, as you can see in the photo below.

Plug stem endsAs with wooden blocks, you'll need to decide whether you want to combine just a few stems together for a no-maintenance stem bundle or make larger nests that will need some care.  If you choose the latter, you can make a very pretty stem bundle by stuffing cut stems into coffee cans, plastic buckets, or short pieces of PVC pipe.  With just a few stems, though, it's simpler to tie the twigs together with a piece of wire or string.

If you don't have any bamboo or hollow weeds on hand, you can drill out the centers of Drilling a stem for a bee nestpithy twigs to get the same effect.  Elderberry, sumac, and chinaberry twigs are supposed to work well --- I'm trying elderberry.

Drilled twig bundle

I hung one stem bundle on the side of our wood stove addition on the south face of the trailer and another under a limb in the kitchen peach tree.  Now I just need to wait and see which, if any, of my artificial nests catch the fancy of our wild bees this spring and summer.

Our chicken waterer never spills in coops or tractors.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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When I see posts like this, here and on other blors and sites, I'm comforted to know there are others who understand the WORLD EXISTS TO MEET THE NEEDS OF OTHER BEINGS BESIDES HUMANS. It drives me nuts when people make decisions or judgements about city backyard use or public space planning based on "we want it to look 'nice'" or "nobody likes weeds" or "it's just easier to spray it"...
Comment by J Fri Dec 30 12:15:21 2011
Your comment made me think of how much fun it would be to write a field guide to the garden, complete with photos of all of the animals who hang out there who aren't directly good or bad. I wonder if a photo-rich guide like that would help people see how vibrant the life is if you're nice to the natives. Too bad I'm so engrossed in my other book project right now!
Comment by anna Fri Dec 30 13:14:12 2011

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