It’s time to put up your bee block. Over the next several weeks we will be notifying people by email as Bee Blocks become available for them to pick up. Watch for your email.
When you picked up your bee block, there should have been a green card attached to it. Hopefully, you signed that and left it where you picked up your block. If you still have the card in your possession, please sign it and return it to The Bees’ Needs (265 UCM, Boulder CO, 80309-0265).
Next, you will notice that your bee block has two stickers on the side. One (the 141xxx number) is your unique Bee Block Number. This is the number you will use when reporting data on your bee block.
The second sticker has an orientation and height listed on it: South-Low, South-High, North-Low, or North-High. We took information we learned in 2013 and decided that we could minimize the variables in block placement while maximizing bee nesting by using these four combinations. The stickers are a guide so that we have approximately the same number blocks in each of the categories spread out over the study area. (Note: If you have a “low” block, suggested height of 0 to 1 foot, you can pick it up to check it as long as you put it back in the same location once you are done. You don’t need to crawl on the ground to look at it!) If your sticker reads “South”, point the hole openings towards the south. If your sticker reads “North”, point the holes towards the north.
Once you know what height and orientation your block is to be placed at, try and find a nice sunny location that comes close to the suggested info on the sticker. We found blocks placed on dead wood (posts, fences, sides of building, stumps) had much more success than blocks placed on living tree trunks. The ones on the tree trucks seemed to attract earwigs and may have been too shady for the bees. Bees like it hot!!
The last thing you should do before hanging up your block is shake out as much of the remaining sawdust as possible. Although we try and do this when we finish drilling, the blocks tend to “shed”. The bees will clear out some sawdust, but giving them clean tunnels means they can start nesting right away.
Lastly, go to The Bees’ Needs website, select “Enter Data” from the menu, and fill out the “Basic Information” survey.
CONGRATULATIONS, You are now a scientist!