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Follow our progress as beekeepers, running the nursery, creating our own bee-haven and conducting research into the best plants for bees

A pile of sand for solitary bees

Stepped sand to provide nest site for solitary bees either horizontally or vertically

Stepped sand to provide nest site for solitary bees either horizontally or vertically

You have probably all seen solitary bee houses in garden centers or even been given one as a gift. You know, those cute little wooden boxes full of tubes or with holes drilled. These are all fine - as long as the holes are drilled to the right size and you put them somewhere very sheltered. But I found out a new fact last week; most solitary bee species prefer to nest in holes in the ground!.

The nest boxes will attract red mason bees, leafcutters and many more but patches of warm dry bare ground is where you will find other species like the tiny lasioglossums. I must have areas like that at rosybee because I have observed ground-nesting bees on the plants but I have been researching how to provide even more habitat for them. The easy answer appears to be to provide a pile of sand.

You will see that I have shaped the sand into steps because some bees like their entrances to be horizontal and others go straight down vertically. The sand bank faces south east and you will see that it is not only sheltered by a fence but we have also used a recycled bed head/foot as supports. for the bank but also to provide even more shelter.  Over time grass and weeds will seed themselves into the sand and will need to be kept short to allow maximum sun to warm up the sand.

I do hope it works.

by rosi