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Bee hotel art project

 
pollinator
Posts: 3596
Location: Toronto, Ontario
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I just came across a request for proposal extension announcement for a local park. They want an outdoor, stand-alone, self-sufficient bee hotel to house five different solitary bee species, deal with pest issues, handle the weather, be built of natural, bee-friendly materials, and perhaps somehow deal proactively with the potential for vandalism.

I am thinking that my much better half, who is an artist by trade, will lead a two-person team consisting of herself and me, and we're going to hopefully submit a proposal tonight!

So my question to all you solitary bee fans out there is, if you were designing a park-scale bee hotel art project, what would it bee?

-CK
 
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Chris, what a wonderful opportunity!   This thread might help give you some ideas:  Build a solitary bee house

There are some great pictures and a link for information for the Pacific NW.

I also found some links that might be helpful:

https://permies.com/t/75111/critters/Bee-Hotels-Design-Maintenance-Questions

https://www.mnn.com/your-home/organic-farming-gardening/stories/how-build-hotel-wild-bees

http://artsorange.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/BeeHotelRFQ6.13.17_FINALpt2.pdf


 
Chris Kott
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Thanks, Anne.

We hashed out most of the design elements last night, and my much better half is writing up the proposal today, as she has the day off, and it's due by 4pm.

We're going with a two-foot deep planter idea, sized three-and-a-half by four feet or so, two sides of which will be bee hotel, habitats up to six inches deep in an eight inch wide frame, for the two-inch overhang.

Inside the planter box, which will be raised on 4"x4" post legs, I think we're going to use 2" rounded stones to create a triple-course funnel-shape, which will then be lined with landscape fabric and filled with soil. The stone layer will ensure no water hangs around to rot out the bee hotels from behind, and in hot, humid weather between thunderstorm events in the summer, it will act as an airwell.

I am also considering some kind of drip plate bee bath that would keep a moist and perhaps slightly muddy area just below the planter, for bees to drink, but also for those solitaries and wasps that need mud can have a ready supply.

As to materials, I am looking for data on species-specific materials and species of wood to use for the drilled blocks and reed/stick bundles, which will also be cut to size.

I am thinking about welded wire over the front, but if I can get away with it, I want to use chicken wire instead, to minimise its visual aspect.

And as it's an art project, I think what we're leaning towards is basically filling in the frame in such a way that the drilled blocks and bundled nesting materials describe a cityscape.

Oh, and we're looking at making three of these, each slightly different and at a slightly different height.

We're still working on how we're going to finish the back. I want shou sugi ban or barn boards, of which we potentially have a source, but ultimately we will see what is available and select a coherent materials palette then.

I appreciate the links, though. Most of the articles I read followed the introductory format, being sparse on details until the DIY how-to paragraph at the bottom; not exactly comprehensive. I had to skim a dozen or so articles to find details on species size and depth preferences for hole sizes and pest precautions.

I think we have enough figured out that we can finish the proposal for submission. But I actively encourage anyone with good ideas to share them.

Thanks again.

-CK
 
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Posts: 2017
Location: mountains of Tennessee
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Sounds like an excellent project Chris. I vaguely remember reading in American Beekeeping Journal that any phragmite can be used for mason bee habitats.  
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