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Solitary bee transparent nest box

FireFire LondonPosts: 7,190
Has anyone used the solitary bee monitoring box, as featured on Springwatch this year? They are apparently easy to clean of mites and great for kids.

I have five floor bug hotels and drilled wood all over the place, but I read they can harbour a lot of parasites etc. I can't imagine the made holes, bamboo stems etc could be worse than the bees etc would naturally find, but lots of people seem to be worried about it. Bodies like the RSPB and the Wildlife Trust are still promoting them, so, who knows.



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  • Blue OnionBlue Onion Posts: 2,478
    Are your current bee hotels of a size you could fit in the oven?  I used to 'cook' bits of dead wood for my indoor parrots and finches, to ensure all mites and such were kills off before introducing the wood to the cage.  I can't remember the temps, bit it was long and fairly low.  
    Utah, USA.
  • wild edgeswild edges The north west of south east WalesPosts: 5,461
    I think the point is that in the wild the nest holes aren't all grouped together in one place so the transfer of pests between holes has to be done via the bees rather than direct contact of nest to nest.

    I use a couple of schwegler bug boxes I got cheap on ebay. They've got a bug brick in the middle and I use bamboo canes around the edges. It's easy enough to swap out the canes for fresh ones every year and the bricks don't have the cracks that you get with wood. As with all bug hotels though it turns into a bird café if you're not careful.

    One of my bird nest boxes was full of thick sticky webs when I checked it one year. There was a solid mass in the middle wrapped up in the web. I was expecting a tarantula to be in there by the scale of the web but it turned out to be wax moth caterpillars that had invaded a bumblebee nest. They'd wrapped the whole thing up bees and all to eat the wax in the nest. I wasn't sure what to make of it. Bee keepers will tell you to destroy the caterpillars but I figured it wasn't my place to judge right or wrong.
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 7,190
    Fantastically useful answers, from you both, as usual. Thank you.

    And the question of the month goes to Blue:
    "Are your current bee hotels of a size you could fit in the oven?"

    I have various, but one is about a cubic metre, so, not really. :)

  • wild edgeswild edges The north west of south east WalesPosts: 5,461
    I can picture you down Currys now.
    'Whats the biggest oven you sell?'
    'Serious about your cooking are you madam?'
    'No I've just got a large bug hotel that needs roasting'
    '... '
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 7,190
    Oh, I would love a huge oven - imagine everything you could do with it! Roasting hotels is a great idea. For the little ones. "Roasting hotels" would also be a nice title for a poetry collection.

  • Blue OnionBlue Onion Posts: 2,478
    Thanks for the honor Fire.   ;)

    Chlorine in the bath tub?  I would think submerging everything in a weak solution would kill off the mites, and then putting it outside on a sunny windy day to dry quickly would limit any damage to the canes and such.  Lay it on it's front for an hour to completely drain any tunnels.  It's how we clean birdboxes.  
    Utah, USA.
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 7,190
    edited June 2018
    Yes, me too.

    I'm thinking of demolishing my hotel. It's half the size of my shed and designed with hogs in mind too, but has not had any residents apart from spiders for the last five years, as far as I can see. A triumph of romantic optimism over sense, perhaps. I had a straw bale and a pallet and went from there. It was fun to build. I do get over-excited.
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