Monday, April 18, 2011

Garden Projects

Inspired by Kate's post at Living the Frugal Life, I built myself a Native Bee box yesterday with some scrap pieces of lumber I had in the garage.  Here it is, hanging from the fence post in the back yard by my vegetable garden.  I've never heard of "Native Bees" until I read her post. I Googled it, and read some more about it.  I was not aware that honey bees are not native to the U.S. and most native bees are solitary bees who live out their lives alone other than to mate to lay eggs for the next generation.  The hardest part of making it was drilling all the holes for the bees to lay eggs in.  The battery on my drill kept dying, and I had to wait until it was charged up again.  I'm looking forward to seeing if my "condo" will attract winged guests!

The irony is that right after we closed on our house, we had to pay a bee expert to remove three bee hives that had been built inside the exterior wall while the house sat vacant for two years.  My husband and a contractor had an unpleasant close encounter when they were discussing a job.  They were poking around the roof line, and disrupted the bees who immediately became angry and started to swarm.  I've never seen two grown men running so fast!

When the "bee guy" showed up, he removed the siding on the outside wall and grabbed the hive and shoved it inside a plastic garbage bag. He then cleaned the area as best he could of the honey and sprayed some sort of chemical where the hive had been.  He promised that although we might see stray bees for a while close by, they will not go in to try to rebuild the hive because the bees do not like the chemical.  He said most of the bees followed the hive into his plastic bag, and they will be relocated into a hive box in a commercial bee operation.  Even after 3 years and a power washing of the exterior wall, you can still see the dark spot left by the dripping honey below where the siding was opened up to reach inside.

Anyways, I did not have a 4 x 4 lumber, so I used three short pieces of boards and screwed them from both sides top and bottom.  After the holes were drilled, I added another scrap piece for the roof to protect the hole openings from dripping water.  I promise to post another photo when the "visitors" have checked in!

You can't tell from this photo, but the other recent project was to plant some raspberry plants along this fence. I got them on clearance at the garden center a couple of weeks ago.  I purchased 12 plants, and threw one away by mistake because they look like a dead piece of stick! I had just made a big pile of weeds and vines I had pulled up to clear the area to plant them, and then promptly threw one of the plants onto the pile by error. I tried to find it, but it was a classic "needle in the hay stack" situation, and I gave up. Sooo, I only have 11 plants. Hopefully, they will start putting out new shoots sometime soon.

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