One of the Hugels I've got going was mostly made out of grand fir. I read somewhere (here probably) that that was a great wood to use for mason bee boxes. I was using huge half rounds and big big chunks of the stuff and I left some big flat pieces exposed. Today I went in with a 1/8th inch drill and drilled a bunch of holes to a depth of 3 or 4 inches (all the drill would allow). I'm hoping I will be able to attracted me some pollinators to leave straight in my bed. The mud they need for the homes is already right their too. Worst case I guess the pillbugs get to them and I get a quicker decomposition right?
Anyone tried something like this? Anyone have words of encouragement or dire warnings?
You might want to look into providing some sort of separation of your bee housing and hugel mound. My understanding is that with the wood exposed to the air and the interior of the hugel you could end up with moisture wicking out of your bed and drying it out. Although you are in w. WA this may still be of concern.
That's a good suggestion, though I will say that thus far (and the season is early to be sure) The heavy clay soil I used over it seems to be fairly insulating. The wood is dry when exposed to air but as one gets deeper into the bed its still soaked and already running with fungi (I poked around a bit) - I think I'll go ahead and try to make some separate bee habitat as well though.
One of the keys for mason bees is to provide sufficient food supply throughout the season, especially during the early spring. Bumblebees need this food source in early spring as well. I have tried mason bee nest but with out much recurring success. I do keep buying them as there is plenty of natural habitat for them and am trying to increase a local population
Cool, thanks for the link John. Yet another reason to leave my random brush piles strewn about in a way which will drive the neighbors mad!
I'm really quite interested in getting as many good bee friendly plants in as possible. I think I already have a good start. Just to the south east of this Hugle (like 5 feet) is a HUGE and Ancient Rhody which the bumbles adore, there is another one about 100 foot flight away. In between the lawn has plenty of wildflowers mixed in. This time of year though I think about the only thing I have going for the bees is the Salmon berry. I'm looking to improve that. I also over the course of the last several years Have taken out a ton of Himalayan Blackberry and the better part of a monstrous rambling rose both of which where eating the house (literally pulling the roof off) I have a ton of trailing blackcap and golden chain and thimble berry around too which makes May the prime time for pollinators but I'd really like to encourage them to reside here for as long as their lifespans allow.
Do you have any suggestions for early spring bee food?