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5. How to Raise Summer Leafcutter Bees
5.2 Summer: Bee House Set Up
5.2 Summer: Bee House Set Up
Hole-nesting bees need a bee house to protect their nesting holes from wind, rain, and if necessary, birds.
The bee house should provide a little spot for the cocoons to emerge and a roof that is 2-3” longer than the nesting holes.
If you paint the bee house, allow plenty of time, about a month, for the paint to cure, because the smell of wet paint may deter the bees.
Orientation: Bees are cold-blooded and leafcutter bees need the warmth of the morning sun to get started. Select a site that is south to southeast facing and with afternoon shade in hot locations that are consistently above 90F/32C.
Location: Install the bee house on a sturdy wall, fence or tree - bees do not like swinging in the breeze. Leafcutter bees only fly about 300ft (100m) in search of nectar and pollen, so place their house near where you need pollination.
Height: At eye-level, about 5ft (1.5m) off the ground to protect from small animals. These bees are fun to watch!
Place Nesting Holes
- Leafcutter bees prefer nesting holes with a 6mm diameter opening.
Our solitary bees build their nests inside of nesting holes, also known as nesting materials. Each female bee will claim one nesting hole as her own and she can fill two or more nesting holes before her work is done. In the wild, a nesting hole is naturally closed at one end, like a grub hole in dead wood or a broken hollow stem. Summer leafcutter bees do not cause damage to wood or furniture, instead they are nesting inside of existing holes that another creature created.
Pro Tip: To prevent disease and pest buildup, choose healthy nesting materials that can be opened and cleaned, and at the very least, replaced every year. Crown Bees nesting materials are designed with the bee’s health in mind.
- Provide 1 nesting hole for each cocoon, both male and female.
- Ensure the front open end of the nesting hole faces the outside of the bee house.
- Tuck the nesting holes towards the back of the house as far as possible to protect against wind and rain.
- Smaller Natural Reeds and BeeTubes: Place loose nesting holes in a slightly uneven 3D arrangement so the bees can find their nesting hole easier.
- Bees use visual cues first and then scent to find their individual nesting hole.
- Reusable Wood Tray: The cardboard backing helps to encourage the bees to nest.
- The deep burnishing on the front helps to warm the heat-loving leafcutter bees.
Bird Protection: If needed, choose bird wire or hardwire cloth with 3/4" openings and loosely create a 3” bubble around the front of the house. Do not install the wire flush against the nesting materials because this keeps bees from being able to get in, too.