WHAT TO DO

Bird Watching (UK) - - May Id Challenge -

ADRIAN THOMAS RSPB wildlife gar­den­ing ex­pert Bug ho­tels (of­ten pal­lets stuffed with odds and ends) be­came rather ‘in vogue’ with­out much sci­ence as to what they might be good for, and many end up in a shady cor­ner where they’re prob­a­bly great for slugs, snails and woodlice, but not much else. So in­stead, a good place to start is a ‘bee ho­tel’, boxes stuffed with hol­low tubes. Only a small num­ber of the 200-plus species of soli­tary bee will use them, but suc­cess rates are high, if you fol­low the rules. The boxes need to be fixed firmly, fac­ing south, in a shel­tered, sunny po­si­tion. Bought com­mer­cially, the tubes are ex­pen­sive, but just as ef­fec­tive is to drill your own holes (with a wide range of sizes be­tween 2mm and 10mm) in blocks of hard­wood. Make the holes as deep as your drill bit will al­low, and fin­ish by sand­ing off the front – bees won’t go in where they might snag their pre­cious wings. The great thing is that you’ll see whether you’ve had any vis­i­tors by whether the en­trance holes have been plugged. And re­mem­ber this is just one of their ‘home needs’ met; they’ll need those nec­tar- and pollen-rich flow­ers I’m sure you’ll be grow­ing!

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