Need Bees Removed?
International
Beekeeping Forums
July 23, 2014, 10:41:20 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
News: Beemaster's official FACEBOOK page
 
   Home   Help Search Calendar bee removal Login Register Chat  

Pages: [1] 2  All   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: How do I make a bee-friendly backyard habitat?  (Read 4953 times)
SgtMaj
Queen Bee
****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 1464


Location: Corryton, TN


« on: June 12, 2008, 02:50:44 AM »

How do I make a bee-friendly backyard habitat to attact the bees that are naturally in the area, or make the general area a more appealing are for them to live?
Logged
Scadsobees
Galactic Bee
******
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 3198


Location: Jenison, MI

Best use of smileys in a post award.


« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2008, 08:45:07 AM »

Search for mason bee hives, get one of those.  Put up lots of unpainted cedar trim for the carpenter bees.

Plant some white sweet clover.  Sure, its invasive and non-native, but the bees love it.  If you want native, then search for native nectar plants, some are joe pye weed, milkweed, sedum.

It is mostly about planting flowers, any kind will work fine.  But if you don't plant them, then they will find plenty elsewhere as well.

Rick
Logged

Rick
Jessaboo
House Bee
**
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 165


Location: Southern New Jersey


WWW
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2008, 09:00:44 AM »

All great suggestions Scadsobees!

I would add use as few pesticides and/or herbicides as possible and if you need to use them try to get natural products. Use NOTHING in the garden that has imidicloprid in it.

Allow a "weed patch" in the garden that lets things like the clovers, dandelions, henbit, etc. bloom. You don't necessarily need to let them go to seed which will help limit the spread in the garden. Check out the gardening forum here on Beemasters - Cindi and other members have created huge lists of good bee plants. If you are gardening at all (vs. just a lawn or "landscaped" yard), you are making a bee friendly backyard.

Have a birdbath of some kind and float some twigs or grass in it so the bees can land and get a drink. You can still use mosquito "dunks" in the water and to the best of my knowledge it will not hurt the bees (it is a larvicide - you can get a natural version from Gardens Alive!)

The National Wildlife Federation's Wildlife Habitat program is a great resource for bird/butterfly/bee plant lists and suggestions on making a wildlife friendly yard. And if you haven't checked it out, look at the Great Sunflower Project - maybe you have more bees than you think!

Good luck!

- Jess

Logged
MrILoveTheAnts
Field Bee
***
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 716


Location: Somerdale, New Jersey


WWW
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2008, 12:49:46 PM »

Nesting
The majority of native bees are solitary and ground nesting. They require sloping, untiled, sandy loam to nest in. This includes certain Leaf Cutter bees.

Mason bees and other Leaf Cutter bees are tube nesting. These will nest in pre-drilled holes in untreated wood. Larger bees require larger holes and deeper tunnels while smaller bees will need smaller holes and will accept tunnels that are more shallow (3 to 4 inches). Make your own, and include a variety of hole sizes. Just go down the line of different sized drill bits and see what you attract. Don't drill all the way through the wood!

Most of these bees mentioned above are only active for 4 to 6 weeks of the year and spend the other 11 months developing.

Carpenter bees come in two sizes. Both drill holes and make their own nests. The smaller varieties tend to nest in soft plant matter. Raspberry stems for example. The larger forms look more like bumblebees and drill right in untreated wood. That's not to say they won't nest in treated wood but untreated is preferred.

Bumblebees and Sweat bees are social and will be active all year except winter. Sweat bees sometimes nest in untiled sandy loam but there are types that nest in hallow cavities in standing wood too. Bumblebees tend to nest in former rodent nests and burrows. If you have some sort of rodent population on you're property then you're doing ok to attract them. To attract them simply allow a patch of grass 5' by 5' perhaps and let the grass go to seed. It usually falls over on itself and creates the perfect nesting spot for field mice to weave their nests and hopefully be used by bumblebees next year. Be aware you might have to weed the grass every so often. You Don't Want saplings to trees all growing there. Also be aware a population of cats can ruin your plans. Make a larger patch or go with nesting blocks. Nesting blocks, similar to bird houses, can also be placed out in tall grass and shady location. The entrance hole should be 3/4 an inch I believe, and inside should be a thin sheet of cottony fabric. Bumblebees like insulated nests.

Food
Everyone has their own special list of plants and will tell you something different. I say go with as many native plants, in their native region, as you can. Thoughts on evolution aside, native plants are the ones that have been here growing with the bees far longer than anything imported. That's not to say the bees won't like a few of the imported plants, actually that's often the problem. A lot of the highly invasive plants tend to be high on the bee list. Honey bees tend to love a lot of the Asian imports that have gone invasive. Native plants at least have the benefit of being eaten by things and controlled by insects, many are even specific host plants to moths and butterflies. Plants have a habit of putting chemicals in their leaves and can only be eaten by a hand full of species. Why not go all the way and go for a general Pollinator Garden?

Here is a list as I see it.

Native Host Plants for Moths and Butterflies.
Milkweed, Butterfly Weed, Orange Glory Flower, Asclepias (Not Butterfly Bush!)
Joe Pie Weed (Eupatorium dubium, or E. fistulosum) other Eupatorium also good.
Black Cherry Tree
Black Eyed Susan, Cone Flowers, and Daisies.
Button Bush (Cephalianthus occidentalis)
Violets (Viola, native violets! ones that aren't regularly sold in garden stores.)
Dogwoods (Cornus florida) make sure it's a native dogwood!
Dill

Native Nectar Sources
Goldenrod
Liatris, Blazing Star, Gay Feather
Sumac, Winged Sumac
Summer Sweet, Clethra alnifolia
Sun Flowers
Aster (Not Mums!)
Dandelion
Blueberries
Winterberry, Ilex verticillate
Willow, Salix
Sedum
Maple Trees

Others
Clover
Mint
Zinnia

General fruit and vegetable gardens are also beneficial. Allow as many of the plants to go to flower as possible. Certain Apple trees aren't native to America but don't go invasive, and offer a bounty of spring flowers.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2008, 01:07:26 PM by MrILoveTheAnts » Logged

Vetch
House Bee
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 184

Location: NE Florida


« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2008, 01:23:31 PM »

These are also good bee plants:

Lemon balm (Melissa), Bee balm (Monarda), Catnip, Vitex, Tulsi (Holy Basil), anise hyssop. All of these except vitex are technically in the mint family, though  the scents are very different. 

The advice to put any flowers in (or any native flowers) is good. We have a border with Moss Rose (portulaca, not in the rose family). I never would have thought of that as a bee plant.  But in the mornings, there are bees rolling around in the buttercup shaped flowers, gathering pollen.  And the color of the flowers is so intense, that is a nice multipurpose plant.
Logged
SgtMaj
Queen Bee
****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 1464


Location: Corryton, TN


« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2008, 12:20:07 AM »

Search for mason bee hives, get one of those.  Put up lots of unpainted cedar trim for the carpenter bees.

Hey thanks for turning me on to the mason bees... I have seen a few of them around here... those little metallic green ones... so I'll definately put up a couple of hives for them.

I'm not so big on the carpenter bees... unfortuneately we have a few of those around here as well... though I think I pretty much wiped them all out this year, just by catching and killing them.  It wouldn't be so bad that they bore into the house, except that they have to be right in your face every time you walk outside.  Sure they are peaceful... but they are bothersome, too.  I much prefer bumble bees to them, unfortuneately I don't think I have any good places for a bumble bee nest... I do wish I owned the property behind me though, there's plenty of places out in their fields for bumble bees, or honey bees, or whatever bees you might want.

Also thanks everyone for the other tips, including flowers to plant (most of which I already have, but some I will be adding).
Logged
misfyredOhio
House Bee
**
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 53

Location: Columbus, Ohio


« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2008, 11:53:47 AM »

Hi. Does anyone know where I could buy milkweed plants? or butterfly weed? I cannot find these at any nursery in town. I've tried to grow butterfly weed from seed without success. I'm just not a very good gardener.  Sad
Logged
MrILoveTheAnts
Field Bee
***
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 716


Location: Somerdale, New Jersey


WWW
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2008, 01:06:26 PM »

Most varieties of Milkweed require a 5 week cool period where the seeds have to remain moist in order to germinate. I did this myself and produced a few but they've since taken a habit of dying on me. I have 2 still alive but aren't looking very good.

Forest Farm I've found to be the best spot to buy healthy plants. However, they're a bit flooky when it comes to shipping. Basically you're getting a set sized box no matter what you order. It can house 25 tubes, or 4 one gallons, or a single 5 gallon. Usually they have more varieties too but they seem sold out of most.
http://www.forestfarm.com/search/search.asp?aPage=1&index=genus&field-keywords=asclepias&Go.x=0&Go.y=0&Go=Go
 
Michigan Bulbs is probably your cheapest supplier but they sent really leggy plant. Though the orange variety is the one I know bees love. Asclepias tuberosa.
http://michiganbulb.com/search.asp?ss=glory+flower&x=0&y=0

You could always look up a Native Plant nursery or store online.
Logged

misfyredOhio
House Bee
**
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 53

Location: Columbus, Ohio


« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2008, 01:40:49 PM »

Thanks for the resources. Awesome. Do you think it is too late in the season to plant?
Logged
MrILoveTheAnts
Field Bee
***
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 716


Location: Somerdale, New Jersey


WWW
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2008, 01:59:11 PM »

They're late to come up anyhow. I'd say if not now then it's ok to do so in the fall. They might not flower this year though. Last year I ordered 4 one gallons of Asclepias incarnata (swamp milkweed) and planted them over the summer of last year. I think July. One produced a few flower buds but they were quick to fall off. This year they're all flowering and I'll finally get to see if the bees like them.
Also last year, despite the fact they didn't flower that didn't stop a Monarch Butterfly from laying eggs on two of the plants. 
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v735/mrilovetheants/MonarchCaterpiller.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v735/mrilovetheants/Monarchcaterpillarlook.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v735/mrilovetheants/MonarchCocoon.jpg
They take, almost to the hour, exactly 2 weeks to hatch. It was a very neat thing to watch.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v735/mrilovetheants/Monarchcocoonblack.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v735/mrilovetheants/Monarchcomingout.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v735/mrilovetheants/Monarchsmall.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v735/mrilovetheants/MonarchSideview.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v735/mrilovetheants/MonarchWing.jpg

Word of warning about milkweed, it will come up through suckers more and more each year. What was once a simple stalk of leaves with flowers on top soon turns into a small shrub. They also produce a strong leading root that goes very deep into the ground. I'm told after 4 years or so they slowly take over the flower bed, so it might be best to plant it in a raised bed.
Also this is a plant used by Seed Beetles. They migrate up well after the Monarch has and can cover the plants. They don't injure it, I don't think, but they will eat the seeds from the inside out. Seed Beetles don't use pheromones to attract mates, instead they meed up at these plants. Occasionally you end up with one plant in particular covered in male beetles waiting for a female to arrive. Not exactly an awful problem by any means, some birds will even eat them. Of the 4 plants I had last year I didn't see one of these beetles but a friend down the road had a plant completely covered in them.
Logged

SgtMaj
Queen Bee
****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 1464


Location: Corryton, TN


« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2008, 04:21:20 AM »

Hi. Does anyone know where I could buy milkweed plants? or butterfly weed? I cannot find these at any nursery in town. I've tried to grow butterfly weed from seed without success. I'm just not a very good gardener.  Sad

If starting from seeds... a sure way to germinate is to lay them out on a paper towel and spread them out on it... leave plenty of room between them... I leave an inch between them and an inch between them and the edges of the towel.  Now cover them with another paper towel and completely wet out both paper towels.  Now put it in a gallon size ziplock bag and blow some air into it, then seal it.  I prefer blowing air into it because the new starts need some CO2 and your exhaled breath has more CO2 in it than the ambient air.  Store it at whatever temp those seeds germinate at... for warmer germinating seeds I put them on top of the fridge where it stays a few degrees warmer, and for cool germinating seeds I've been known to put them right in the fridge.  I've never had more than 1 seed not germinate per bag done that way, and most of the time I get 100 percent germination.

You have to divide them up while they are still young or the roots will grow together... but just cut or tear them apart and put them (paper towels and all) on top of a yogurt cup with damp soil in it up to 3/4 full.  I set the yogurt cups in a tray of water so I only have to water them once a day to keep the seedling moist.  After a couple of days, start adding peat moss or seed starting soil... or my favorite, used coffee grounds... over the tops of them... but only a tiny bit at first... maybe a half a teaspoon per the first time... wait 2 more days, another half teaspoon... wait 3 more days and do a full teaspoon, wait 4 more days, another teaspoon.  At this point there's sufficient soil covering the seed (unless it's in the tomato family, then I keep doing that until it's ready to plant outdoors.

Do that and you'll have more strong seedlings than you know what to do with (you can sell what you don't plant in a yard sale... you make a bit 'o money, and it helps your hives as your neighbors will be planting the flowers you want them to...  grin

When you're a week away from moving them outdoors, put them outside for 2 hours during the day, then bring them back in.  The next day leave them outside for 3 hours, and the following day for 4 hours, then six hours.  Finally for the next 2 days go dawn to dusk. and the day before planting, leave them overnight.  This will harden them off.  Some people advise using fans indoors to simulate weather conditions, but I don't think they are as hardy when you do that.  Anyway, that'll get you off to a great start, and will give anybody a green thumb.

PS - hopefully you're planting in well prepared soil... good soil makes for a good garden.  I like 1 part sand to 2 parts well composted organic matter, with another 2 parts not composted woody organic matter, and 1 part original soil.  For tomatos I usually add another part powdered lime to it to give them the calcium they need to prevent blossom end rot.  This year I tried crushed oyster shells, the plants seem healthy, but are not producing, but this year my garden has also basically been beeless, so some of that is to be expected.

PPS - It's early enough in the year that you can plant just about anything and still have time for it to come up and bloom or produce veggies.  But you might have to toy with the temps to trigger them (thats why God made refridgerators).
Logged
SgtMaj
Queen Bee
****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 1464


Location: Corryton, TN


« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2008, 06:45:04 AM »

The National Wildlife Federation's Wildlife Habitat program is a great resource for bird/butterfly/bee plant lists and suggestions on making a wildlife friendly yard. And if you haven't checked it out, look at the Great Sunflower Project - maybe you have more bees than you think!

I was just perusing their site... nwf.org and they've got some great info on the "pollination crisis" and on creating bee friendlier garden habitats.  In a few minutes I'm going to run over to the hardware store and pick up some of their scrap lumber to start building mason bee houses with, as well as a longer drill bit since mine will only go about 2-3 inches deep.  I think I'll put up just 2 houses for now.  While I'm there I'll stop by their seed section and pick up whatever I can (whatever they still have) that's on the pollinator friendly list that I'm building... also will get some native wildflower mixes and toss them out around the inlet and outlet of the "drainage pond" out back (it never has had any water in it) where it's just about impossible to mow anyway.

Oh, and as far as the bird bath goes, does anyone have any ideas for keeping water in it when it gets so hot around here?  My only thought on this is to put a basin under the spigot and let it drip into the basin very slowly.  I have a rain barel, so I could put it under that to keep it from running up the water bill... and the A/C discharges the condensation into it, so it get's a steady drip to replenish it anyway.
Logged
Joseph Clemens
House Bee
**
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 382


Location: Tucson, Arizona U S A


WWW
« Reply #12 on: June 14, 2008, 02:03:42 PM »

Simple: don't use any pesticides.

Don't mow, don't weed. Let the land go native.
Logged


<img src="[url]http://banners.wunderground.com/weathersticker/miniWeather06_both/language/www/US/AZ/Marana.gif
" border=0
alt="Click for Marana, Arizona Forecast" height=50 width=150>[/url]
Joseph Clemens
Beekeeping since 1964
10+ years in Tucson, Arizona
12+ hives and 15+ nucs
No chemicals -- no treatments of any kind, EVER.
SgtMaj
Queen Bee
****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 1464


Location: Corryton, TN


« Reply #13 on: June 14, 2008, 03:50:11 PM »

Simple: don't use any pesticides.

Don't mow, don't weed. Let the land go native.

Unfortuneately I think the neighbors would be pretty mad if I did that... well, not the pesticides bit... which I really don't use much of.  Though this year I did give in and use a slug bait earlier in the year.  I also spray ant killer inside the house to combat the sugar ants as best I can.  But I don't spray it outdoors.  That's probably a lot worse for me, but it's better for my blood pressure when I don't see sugar ants covering the countertops.   grin

Going back to the bee attraction topic... I see a lot of posts about using sugar water for feeding... I'm wondering if hummingbird feeders also work or if they are not bee accessible. 
Logged
Brian D. Bray
Galactic Bee
******
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 7369


Location: Anacortes, WA 98221

I really look like this, just ask Cindi.


WWW
« Reply #14 on: June 14, 2008, 09:10:01 PM »

Simple: don't use any pesticides.

Don't mow, don't weed. Let the land go native.

Unfortuneately I think the neighbors would be pretty mad if I did that... well, not the pesticides bit... which I really don't use much of.  Though this year I did give in and use a slug bait earlier in the year.  I also spray ant killer inside the house to combat the sugar ants as best I can.  But I don't spray it outdoors.  That's probably a lot worse for me, but it's better for my blood pressure when I don't see sugar ants covering the countertops.   grin

Going back to the bee attraction topic... I see a lot of posts about using sugar water for feeding... I'm wondering if hummingbird feeders also work or if they are not bee accessible. 

Most humming bird feeders have bee guards on them.  You can either take them off or use something else.
Logged

Life is a school.  What have you learned?   Brian      The greatest danger to our society is apathy, vote in every election!
SgtMaj
Queen Bee
****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 1464


Location: Corryton, TN


« Reply #15 on: June 14, 2008, 09:29:05 PM »

Most humming bird feeders have bee guards on them.  You can either take them off or use something else.

Are they easy to remove on most feeders?  The reason I ask is that we have some hummingbirds (or used to anyway) in the neighborhood, so it could serve a dual purpose.
Logged
poka-bee
Super Bee
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 1651


Location: buckley wa

I am NEVER bored!!


WWW
« Reply #16 on: June 15, 2008, 12:02:30 AM »

There is always a stand off between the hummers & bees at my window feeder, bees can be pretty persistant!!  They use different eating places, hummers the regular ones & the bees the rim.  Jody
Logged

I'm covered in Beeesssss!  Eddie Izzard
SgtMaj
Queen Bee
****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 1464


Location: Corryton, TN


« Reply #17 on: June 15, 2008, 01:52:41 AM »

There is always a stand off between the hummers & bees at my window feeder, bees can be pretty persistant!!  They use different eating places, hummers the regular ones & the bees the rim.  Jody

I'm trying to envision what you mean by the rim... I'm thinking about those plastic tube ones with the flower shaped feeding areas at the bottom... is that the same kind you're talking about?  If so, are you talking about the rim of the flower or the rim at the top of the feeder where you would fill it?
Logged
SgtMaj
Queen Bee
****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 1464


Location: Corryton, TN


« Reply #18 on: June 15, 2008, 03:21:43 AM »

Possible good news as far as natural bees go... a co-worker of mine has LOTS of bumble-bees at his house... and sees them an annoyance, so if I can find a place to put in a nest, I may make a nest box and place it out at his place until a hive moves in, then just seal it off early one morning and transport the hive to my place.  That would put some bumbe bees back in the area... but I don't know of any good place for a bumbe bee hive on my property... though only a couple hundred yards from me, there's a little piece of land (about an acre) that is completely overgrown with nothing on it, and I'm thinking that would be a great place to put it, if I can get whomever the owner is to go along with the plan.  Only problem is I'm not sure who the owner is.
Logged
poka-bee
Super Bee
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 1651


Location: buckley wa

I am NEVER bored!!


WWW
« Reply #19 on: June 15, 2008, 09:57:11 AM »



I'm trying to envision what you mean by the rim...


My window feeder is square, the top just sits on the receptacle.  Mine are all easy to clean.  My favorite are the perky pet singles, just a tube w/screw on bottom, 1 hole, no flower.  Only 1 hummer @/a time but they aren't good about sharing anyways, hens better than the males!  EASY to clean, perfect size to use a regular bottle brush.  I pulled/cut the flowers off the others cause there are so many nooks & crannies for mold to grow, all take-apart-able!  The bees either go to the feeding ports if no hummers are there, or to the rim where the top fits. There is always some sugar water there if you keep em full.  You have to clean your feeders 1x a week though, as the mold isn't good for the birds.  This year I have been taking 1 cup of the bee syrup that I add Bragg's (w/ the mother) vinegar & adding 4parts water. The hummers must like the vinegar as they are all over the place.  Lots of hens this year, many more than the last few years, less males.  Would be interesting to see what's going on in the rest of the country!  Hope this helps!  Jody
Logged

I'm covered in Beeesssss!  Eddie Izzard
Pages: [1] 2  All   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Beemaster's Beekeeping Ring
Previous | Home | Join | Random | Next
Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.19 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines | Sitemap Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.986 seconds with 22 queries.

Google visited last this page July 20, 2014, 02:48:08 PM