We have a problem: Some lovely miner bees have been inspired to take up residence in the cob wall we've been working on. In actuality, it's the bed of the "bale-cob" wall we're working on. From another small project, it appears that they only like the pure cob portions, and eschew the bale portion. Funny thing is, the other project's been sitting un-plastered (well house) for 2 years and this is the first time we've had any trouble. I HATE to spray the darlings, but I hate more to have my future home turned to Swiss cheese before my eyes. We have evicted most of them by way of an essential oils-based insect spray (I know, I know!! CRINGE), and have begun filling in their holes (don't judge us). It appears that at present, the holes are only about 1/2 finger deep, and have caused no real harm, which is great. The REAL question is: How do we deter them? I recently read that a final finish of lime plaster will do the trick; does anyone have experience with that? That may end up being our deciding factor for the question of lime vs manure finish. AND since we are many steps away from a final plaster/render, does anyone have suggestions for keeping them at bay until we reach that step??
I know almost next to nothing abotu bees, but hopefully my response will be better than zero replies...
My first thought is, Can you turn this to your advantage? Cut a section of the wall out and put it somewhere nearby and have the bees go to town with it. Given how difficult it is to attract a swarm in general, I'm assuming they really only need one hive. So as long as they're happy, you can let them do their thing and then rebuild a bit of your well building.
That would buy you some time too, I imagine, to figure out how you're going to protect the rest of the structure.
And meantime you can market a product--how to attract miner bees with cob! Permaculturists everywhere will go wild.
Community Building 2.0: ask me about drL, the rotational-mob-grazing format for human interactions.
Thank you Joshua. Yes, it's better than no responses! These forums are so full of people with so much knowledge that it's uber disappointing when a legitimate question goes unanswered.
I think you and my husband are on the same brainwave. He suggested creating a little cob hut for them, so that's what the kids and I started on Wednesday. We plan to "capture" the bees since they don't sting or anything and show them the new place, hoping they'll get the drift.
Hopefully that works. I'll update when we do find a solution. Hopefully it will be helpful to someone else. I know others in this area are dealing with them as well. It's not a big deal, I suppose, if your cob structure is, say, an oven or a shed. But this is my HOME.
If you go ahead with this plan, and DON'T want their free pollination services, you could move the sacrificial cob block far away into the wilderness (or to another permaculture farm) each winter while they are incubating, thus saving the bees from destruction, and providing wild pollinators in a new area.
Note: you'd have to make a new sacrificial block each year if other bees keep finding your house.
Save the bees!!
Experimenting and growing on my small acre in SW USA; Fruit & Nut trees w/ annuals, hoping to get Chickens, rabbits, and in-laws onto property soon.
Long term goal - Furniture & Luthier Stay-at-home farm dad.
Dustin Rhodes wrote:If you go ahead with this plan, and DON'T want their free pollination services, you could move the sacrificial cob block far away into the wilderness (or to another permaculture farm) each winter while they are incubating, thus saving the bees from destruction, and providing wild pollinators in a new area.
I love this idea.
Build a cob bee hotel 20 feet away from where they are currently living, and if possible, dig out their current home (if any are still living there) and move them to a new cob home nearby.
"The rule of no realm is mine. But all worthy things that are in peril as the world now stands, these are my care. And for my part, I shall not wholly fail in my task if anything that passes through this night can still grow fairer or bear fruit and flower again in days to come. For I too am a steward. Did you not know?" Gandolf