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Pvc mason bee tubes

 
Posts: 68
Location: Western Kentucky - Zone 7
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Has anyone used like 1/2" or smaller pvc pipe for mason bee nesting tubes? It would be a lot cheaper than ordering bulk paper tubes. At $2 or less for a 20 ft piece locally I could cut it down to about 60 4-inch pieces making them barely over 3 cents a piece. I know people will break their tubes open and over winter their bees. However, a lot of people use river cane or fine bamboo and it has the same difficulty that pvc would. While yes it isn't biodegradable, it would help lay people get more involved raising mason bees I think. it would be just be proper stewardship to make sure they stay in their intended position. Thoughts?
 
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Not sure, but you might have problems with the bees choosing to use a non-natural material to make their home in - could be something about the chemistry of the plastic, or the smoothness of the interior walls, they might not like it - testing may be in order?

You also have to account for solar degradation.
 
Kevin Goheen
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Dustin Rhodes wrote:Not sure, but you might have problems with the bees choosing to use a non-natural material to make their home in - could be something about the chemistry of the plastic, or the smoothness of the interior walls, they might not like it - testing may be in order?

You also have to account for solar degradation.



I figure if it's safe enough for water it'd probably be alright. Also these could put in old coffee cans  or anything to reduce light touching it.
 
Dustin Rhodes
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I'm not saying the plastic wouldn't be safe, I'm saying the bees have differently attuned olfactory senses, and might not prefer/choose the PVC over natural materials.
 
steward
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Might it be even cheaper to drill holes in a chunk of wood?  I'm guessing the bees may not prefer PVC because it doesn't have the natural feel of a plant based hole/tube.  But I'm just guessing.
 
pollinator
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I'm afraid it's not a good idea, water condensation cannot leave, you'll probably invite mold..
Many people have these mason bee hotels, it's not great.
Mold is a problem if you don't clean them.
Parasitic wasps hop from nest to nest laying eggs in them. It used to be a lot of work for the parasitic wasps finding all these different nesting sites when nature was still natural and chaos abound. Now everything is being ordered to suit humans and cleaned up, no more space available for natural nesting sites.
So the way forward is these cleanable bee hotels you can take apart, where the cocoons are being gathered in winter to stay in the garage or some place without frost.
They're for sale and people make them.
Here are some interesting links.

https://crownbees.com/blog/movingday/
https://thehoneybeeconservancy.org/2017/12/09/bee-hotels/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUPgYjcCaDI
 
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