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Fact of the week: The cells for the eggs are made from mud – so it is very important that you place your Bee box close to a patch of damp soil in the garden.
How to attract Red Mason Bees to your school grounds?
The Red Mason is one of over 220 species of solitary bees that can be found in the United Kingdom. Besides planting the right flowers and plants, to provide the pollen and nectar that these bees need to stay healthy, here are 6 steps we can all take to attract these bees to and care for them when they arrive in our school grounds.
Step 1: Create new habitats - Make your own Solitary Bee Nest
Besides hanging outside a super bee box why not create other suitable habitats for Red Mason Bees. For example why not hang a waterproof container outside and fill it with hollow bamboo tubes.
Step 2: Create new habitats - Make new solitary bees nests in the ground
Many solitary bees nest in the ground. They need loose, crumbly and exposed soil or sandy banks. So, try to leave patches of bare earth in places that catch the sunshine. If you have a sandy bank in your school grounds that would be a great habitat for Red Mason Bees! To encourage Red Masons to nest there just take a pencil and poke it in the ground to make a few holes in the bank!
Step 3: Short of space – Plant more plants!
Many female Red Mason Bees will travel no more than 30 metres from the nest to collect pollen. So, It is important that close to your nest box there are lots of flowers and other plants for them to visit. Remember, every female Red Mason Bee is busy lining her nest from early April to the end of June beginning of July. Therefore it is important that you have plants and trees in your school grounds that flower both in spring and in the summer months.
Step 4: Short of space – Use hanging baskets, flower pots and trays!
Do you have very limited space around your Webcam Bee Box to plant flowers, small trees and herbs? If that is the case then why not purchase some plant trays and pots and plant seeds in these? If you keep the trays indoors in the warm after Christmas until early spring and regularly water the seeds, then when the bees come out of hibernation there will be plenty of plants around outside for them to visit.
Step 5: Bees need water – A good water supply
Water is good not just to bees, but also a range of wildlife. A small wildlife pond with a shallow area would be ideal, but failing that, a simple bird bath or tray of water with a few stones (to create shallow zones) can help.
Step 6: Do not use pesticides
If you have a gardening club in school or use local contractors to mow your grass and look after your school grounds it is important they use organic methods to grow vegetables and where necessary control plant growth. The loss of habitats and use of pesticides are two of the key reasons why our UK Bee population is in decline. Let’s make certain we do not add to this problem by giving the solitary bees in our school grounds every chance to grow in number!
Flower Pots (left) Hollow Bee Nest (middle) Water Feature (right}
Next report Monday 15th May 2017
Why are solitary bee numbers in the United Kingdom falling?