|Our "extended" Savanna - we were going to burn it this year (it's 4 years old), but life happens and we didn't make the window. So instead, we mowed down the dead stuff and mulched all the leaves. It's ready to be a bee-haven again this year.|
The plants in the southern fields have started to turn green.
|The western half of the southern field - mowed and raked - will possibly be burned again next year. It has been planted for 7 years.|
|The eastern half of the southern field. mowed & raked to remove the duff. Also planted 7 years ago.|
|A dead tree. It was struck by lightning and then the insects and woodpeckers finished it off. We'll push it over and it will be at the base of the rest of the pile, providing food & cover for the bees & insects to make use of it.|
|Small limbs & rubbish will be piled up for the insects to make use of.|
|More limbs to add to the pile.|
Supporting the Ground NestersHow can we support ground-nesting bees and other ground-nesting insects?
- Protect existing nesting sites (insects can be observed entering
ground tunnels, small piles of soil often surround the entrances)
- Do not disturb the soil (avoid tilling, digging, vehicular traffic)
- Do not cover soil with mulch
- Maintain existing vegetation, which is usually sparse, by removing strong-growing plants (shrubs, invasive weeds)
- Nesting sites can be protected from predators like skunks and raccoons by covering the area with chicken wire
- Create man-made nesting sites for ground-nesting bees
- In gardens, areas can be dedicated for nesting sites. Rock gardens are ideal as they usually have well-draining soil and low vegetation. Some areas need to be kept free of vegetation. Rocks and clumps of perennials are helpful as orientation for bees to find their nest entrances. Bees choose sunny locations for their nesting sites and prefer slopes exposed to the southeast, which warm up quickly in the morning.
Supporting Tunnel-nesting BeesHow can we support bees nesting in wood tunnels and hollow stems?
- Leave dead trees standing as long as they are not a safety hazard.
- Do not remove dead wood and fallen trees from forests
- Pile up logs from cut trees (especially those containing burrows) to allow larvae of beetles, wood wasps and horntails to complete their life cycles, and to provide abandoned tunnels for nesting bees.
- Do not remove plant stems of dormant perennials and grasses from garden beds until early spring, and leave removed stems in a loose piles for as long as possible to allow young bees to hatch from their nesting material.
- Do not mow wild meadows more than once a year, ideally in early spring.
Shelter for OverwinteringIt’s important to provide shelter for overwintering insects:
- As much as possible, keep leaf litter in woodlands and garden beds where it falls.
- Create stone, brush and wood piles as shelters for overwintering insects.
- Wait to cut down old stems and clumps of perennials until late winter or early spring.
Table 1. Nesting locations of common bee and wasp genera
|Bare patches of well-drained soil, most often sandy or silty loam that does not collapse when dry and is soft enough for digging, but some species nest in pure sand, others in river banks that are periodically inundated||Mining Bees||Andrena|
|Minute Mining Bees||Perdita|
|Cellophane Bees||Colletes inaequalis|
|Slender Sweat Bees||Lasioglossum|
|Dark Sweat Bees||Halictus|
|Green sweat Bees||Agapostemon, Augochlora, Augochlorella|
|Wood and Stem-Nesters:|
|Tunnels in trees, logs, rotting wood, and also hollow stems of herbaceous plants and grasses, as well as wooden structures and old masonry||Mason Bees||Osmia|
|Large Carpenter Bees||Xylocopa|
|Small Carpenter Bees||Ceratina|
|Resin Bees||Anthidiellum, Dianthidium|
|Abandoned mouse nests, cavities in the soil, in trees and buildings,||Bumble Bees||Bombus|