The number of Solitary bees that are going to make it through the winter this year in the UK are much lower than normal. Our producer of Solitary bees has been checking his production nests and unfortunately many have failed, so it looks like there will not be many live cocoons for us to harvest next spring. This just goes to show how fragile the plight of many bee species is. It is difficult to always know what is causing the problems.
For those of you with Solitary bee nests, it is a good idea to move any nesting tubes that are inhabited into a garage or shed for the winter. This will protect them from predators such as birds. Woodpeckers especially, love eating the Solitary bee cocoons. If this is not possible, try putting some netting over the end to prevent birds getting access to the tubes. It is also a good time to clean out any empty tubes. This will remove any parasites and make the nesting tubes more likely to succeed next spring when new eggs might be laid in them. Return the tubes to the nester in March, when temperatures start to rise.
It is easy to remove the nesting tubes to keep them safe during winter.
It is especially important next spring to encourage the solitary bees that do make it through the spring to mate and lay new eggs in nesting tubes and habitats. This can be helped by creating areas of pollen bearing plants and siting your nesting tubes to the right orientation.
The ones most likely to attract solitary bees should be facing south to south east. Also make sure they back onto a solid back and are not swinging in the wind, no bees will attempt to use these ones.
Ensure your nester is secured to a wall or fence.
At Dragonfli we also have some very well designed solitary bee nesters. They make great Christmas gifts, so take a look at our Beepol Solitary bee nesters, now available in some great new colours to liven up the garden.
A selection of our Solitary Bee and insect nesters.
Help the Solitary Bees in your garden by keeping any cocoons safe this winter and ensuring your nesters are eady for next spring.