The Bonzer Bee Box
Late last summer we made a a box for solitary bees out of an old wooden wine box and assorted bits of bamboo, blocks of wood and elder stems, topped off with some wire to stop the woodpeckers pulling it to pieces. We followed the guide at foxleas.com, which was very helpful and led us to a rather different design than many of the commercially available boxes. What started off looking like a piece of wacky sculpture has now turned into a busy bee house. In contrast to bumblebee boxes, a sensibly designed and sited solitary bee house seems like a surefire winner and it seems like a really good wet afternoon project for the children. You can buy interesting ones too. Miner bees have stoppered around a quarter of the tubes with mud already, with their eggs laid snugly inside with stores - these are the chaps I've been watching gather building supplies by the pond. I think there are also leafcutter bees in residence too, but I'm struggling to identify them and the more I struggle the more different species I notice. Help! My bumblebees are quite good now but these defeat me utterly. There are apparently over 200 solitary bee species in the UK (!), which is pretty testing for a non-specialist - is there anyone out there who can help me identify these three?