Solitary bees play an important role in the pollination of gardens, orchards and wild flowers. There are over 240 species recorded in the British Isles. Like other bees their numbers have dropped with modern farming practices and loss of habit. They are some of the easiest bee species to help in the garden by providing a pollen rich environment of plants and suitable nesting sites. Solitary bee nesting boxes can be put in gardens to attract Solitary bees to lay their eggs in and now Dragonfli can supply you the nesting box and live solitary bees to help start the use of your Solitary nesting box. Dragonfli supply Red mason bees that are harvested from natural breeding sites in the UK. The mason bee species is a native one to the UK and all production sites are cleaned and protected from invasion by natural predators and diseases. The live mason bees are supplied as red mason bee cocoons, each containing a live mason bee. These are sent during April in a special cartridge, which fits into the front of the Solitary bee nester. They will then hatch. Some will be males and some will be females. Mating takes place and the females will return to start laying eggs in the Solitary bee nesting tubes. These tubes will also attract wild mason bees, so if conditions are good and the nester is facing south to south west it should quickly fill up with mason bee eggs. It is easy to observe as the bees will seal the tubes with sand, clay or soil, which shows that the tubes are occupied. One tube can hold several eggs. There are many types of solitary bees and the nesting box may also attract other species such as leaf cutter bees, which will cover the end of the tubes with a small piece of leaf. The Solitary bees will develop inside the tubes and emerge the next spring to repeat the life cycle. The Live Solitary Bee nester kit comprises;
- Painted timber made Solitary bee nester with different sized cardboard tubes to attract different solitary bees for egg laying
- Voucher for a minimum 10 live Reds mason bee cocoons. These each contain a live mason bee. The voucher is returned to Dragonfli and the cocoons are sent inside the special dispensing cartridge that is put in the front of the Beepol Solitary bee nester.
- The cartridges are supplied in the spring, normally during April [ subject to weather]
- Full Instructions included with colour brochure on Solitary bees
Solitary bees will add more vital pollinators to your garden and co-exist very happily with other species of bees such as honeybees and bumblebees. To help attract wild solitary bees and help your Dragonfli solitary bees, make sure you plant up your garden with pollen bearing plants. If you have fruit trees and wildflowers in your garden, you will already have a good environment for bees and will benefit from the extra pollination Solitary bees provide. The Beepol Live Solitary Bee Nester Kit provides a unique system for establishing Solitary bees in the garden and helps teach adults and children about these valuable pollinating insects. There is no maintenance required other than cleaning the tubes every few years to prevent any natural parasites of the bees building up and new Red mason bee cocoons can be supplied each season with a new Solitary bee cartridge or the nester box can be left to attract wild populations.