The other bees

When we moved into a log cabin in June 2015, this city girl stressed out over the fact that carpenter bees loved our wooden home as much as we did. They are belligerent and territorial. They poop liquid sawdust and it dribbles yellow down our red exterior. The pest guys sprayed with little effect. Then I set traps, where the bees thought they had a ready-made hole but found themselves captured in a clear plastic bottle. Watching them die a slow death got to me. Meanwhile, I learned that carpenter bees are native, non-stinging, and prolific pollinators.

I felt like a Nazi.

So this year I am reforming and making reparations. The tree-hugger solution to carpenter bees is to give them their own houses and put a few drops of almond oil into holes where they shouldn’t be.

Too lazy to drill holes into blocks of wood, I amazoned for “carpenter bee houses.”

OMG, this whole new world of solitary bees opened up for me. “Mason bees” are a thing — never heard of them. While we worship at the altar of the honey bee and all their metaphorical lessons-for-life, solitary bees crash around inefficiently, spreading pollen every which way, not bothering with the whole wax-and-honey dealie. Can’t be bothered with stinging. And every girl is her own queen. Ha!

So I am all in. I bought 3 houses and they arrived today. I followed the advice to stuff in some extra twigs, straw, etc. to provide diverse visual cues. Now all I need are flowers.

Bamboo bee house by Kibaga
Insect hotel by Niteangel
Beneficial Insect House by Nature’s Way

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