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Need help finding clay for Mason bees!

 
Jordan Struck
Posts: 65
Location: Oregon (zone 7b), 31.3 inches/yr rainfall
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Can I set out craft store clay for the bees? Where else is clay available? I need to purchase some but don't know where to look or what will work. I'm from a small town.
 
Meryt Helmer
Posts: 395
Location: west marin, bay area california. sandy loam, well drained, acidic soil and lots of shade
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are you certain there is no naturally occurring clay near you?

you can order clay for pottery from places like dickblick http://www.dickblick.com/categories/firingclays/

I don't know if that sort will work though? i imagine ordering it in powder form will be much cheaper but if you do that wear a dust mask when you mix it with water. you don't want to breath that in. perhaps you could find a creek or river near you with clay and bring some to your bees from there?
 
Jordan Struck
Posts: 65
Location: Oregon (zone 7b), 31.3 inches/yr rainfall
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Olivia Helmer wrote:are you certain there is no naturally occurring clay near you?

you can order clay for pottery from places like dickblick http://www.dickblick.com/categories/firingclays/

I don't know if that sort will work though? i imagine ordering it in powder form will be much cheaper but if you do that wear a dust mask when you mix it with water. you don't want to breath that in. perhaps you could find a creek or river near you with clay and bring some to your bees from there?


Low or high fire?

I live on the banks of a river and my entire property seems to be sandy loam
 
Meryt Helmer
Posts: 395
Location: west marin, bay area california. sandy loam, well drained, acidic soil and lots of shade
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I have no idea what clay to get if you buy it. i know that the clay used for pottery is clay found in the ground but I don't know if it will work or if it matters if it is low or high fire. hopefully someone else will know more. my property appears to have no clay but when I dig in some spots I find clay. I wonder if there might be some around the river on your property that is covered by sand hmmm
 
Steven Feil
Posts: 242
Location: South Central Idaho
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Bentonite clay from a feed manufacturing facility. They may even give you a pound or so.
 
John Elliott
pollinator
Posts: 2310
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Dig.

There are few places on the Earth's surface where you can't find clay -- on glaciers, on volcanoes, on large pieces of rock, otherwise know as 'mountains', but even there, all you have to do is trek down to the base of the mountain, down where the rain washes stuff, and you will begin to find clay.

Here in Georgia, to find clay, all you need to do is look on the bottom of your shoe. The whole state is one large clay pit that accumulated over millions of years as it washed down from the Appalachians. Out west it is a little bit harder to find the clay, the mountains are younger and have not weathered as much. A lot of the clay is still in the form of silt that has yet to be broken into even smaller pieces and washed downhill by the rains. But you can find it. The Spanish settlers in California found it. Most of the missions were built of adobe found in the streambeds of the seasonal rivers next to which they built the missions.

So look at the base of a hill, where the water collects. A stream, a pond, clay is likely to accumulate there. If you have a birdbath, you can keep adding dirty water (not polluted, dirty as in you added dirt to the water and shook it up) to it and letting the water evaporate. After a while, a good bit of clay will be left, like a miniature dry lake bed.
 
Steven Feil
Posts: 242
Location: South Central Idaho
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EVERYWHERE I have lived "out West" has been a clay pit. Age of mountains has nothing to do with it.
 
John Elliott
pollinator
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Steven Feil wrote:EVERYWHERE I have lived "out West" has been a clay pit. Age of mountains has nothing to do with it.


That's because except for a few places like Vail and Aspen, people live on the flat lands where the clay has washed down to. But just wait, in a few more million years, there will be even more clay washed down from the mountains.
 
Steven Feil
Posts: 242
Location: South Central Idaho
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Ya think?
 
Peter Jackson
Posts: 9
Location: Canada, Zone 5b
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Jordan Struck wrote:Can I set out craft store clay for the bees? Where else is clay available? I need to purchase some but don't know where to look or what will work. I'm from a small town.


Hi Jordon,

Also, check out your state's surficial geological maps, this may also point you in the correct direction.
 
Dennis Phillips
Posts: 3
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I am not sure at all what you are talking about here! Am I correct in my thinking that bumble bees, mason bees and carpenter bees are one and the same or are mason bees something completely different?
I have heard them called all three here in Virginia all my life and they always drill holes in wood to nest!
We have what is know as a dirt dobber that uses clay soil to build their nest but I am not aware that they are good for anything except killing insects!
In any event, there is no shortage of good solid red clay around here in certain areas and if that is what you are looking for, it wouldn't be much of a problem to fill up a gallon sized zip lock freezer bag or two and package it up for shipment if you'd pay the shipping, what ever it would be! I wouldn't mind being neighborly and doing that for you and I could ship it COD so no money would change hands between us! You just paid the shipping charges COD! At least I think you can still do that!
E-mail me @ BadFordRanger2000@yahoo.com if you are interested in doing that!
Dennis
 
Dennis Phillips
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Well, I just learned a bit on the net about mason, carpenter, and bumble bees that I never knew!
I guess regardless of them pretty much looking the same, they are all three different species of bees! I had no idea!
Anyway, I think that with the CCD of the honey bees we all need to try to help any way we can to get our food pollinated so if you want, I'll surely dig up a bag or two of dirt and send it to you!
Ranger
 
Bill Ramsey
Posts: 86
Location: SW Georgia, zone 8b
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I live in Georgia too so it's hard for me to imagine no clay but if it is that hard to find I would look for cheap cat litter or oil dry products made from clay with no additives.
 
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