One design is the Sun Hive.
The sun hive is a type of skep hive. A skep is a bee hive made from coiled straw and stitched together using cane. Skeps used for honey production are now illegal because the hive must be destroyed to harvest the honey. But if you have no intention of harvesting from the bees, a Sun Hive like this one creates a wonderful, permanent home for a colony. Not only is this hive beautiful, but it mimics the natural hive structure that wild bees create.
Gaia holds classes to teach people how to make a sun hive. Visit their website for more information.
The Sun Hive Photo Credit Gaia Bees
There are many species of insects that help pollination. Honey Bees get a lot of attention as pollinators because backyard bee keepers have the added benefit of the honey harvest. So it’s a dual purpose enterprise. But if you’re just looking for increased pollination Bumblebees out-pollinate their Honey Bee cousins.
“Bumblebees are excellent for tomato growers.
They visit twice as many flowers per minute as honeybees.
They carry heavier loads.
Their larger size means better contact with stamens and pistils.
They do well in greenhouses.
They stay active in harsher weather.
They cross pollinate fruit trees more easily because they don’t stay within a particular crop like honey bees.“
Bumble Bee Hive Photo Credit: Arbico Organics
You can support bumble bees by installing a Bumblebee Hive like this one from Arbico Organics.
Or, you can make your own Bumblebee hive using a flower pot and a few items around the house. Find instructions at the Bumblebee Conservation Trust.
Mason Bees Photo Credit: Wikipedia
I’ve personally used a Mason Bee hive in our garden. It’s interesting to see the little tubes fill up as the female does her job as nest keeper, and they are great pollinators!
“Each Mason Bee visits as many as 1000 blooms per day — 20 times as many as a honeybee!”
Not only are Mason bees better at pollinating than Honey Bees, but they don’t sting! This is a great alternative for gardeners who have severe allergic reactions to bee stings.
Mason Bee Hive Photo Credit: Gardener’s Supply Company
There are many designs available for Mason Bee Hives. This one from Gardener’s Supply Company is cute and reasonably priced.
Simply hang in a sunny spot and reap the rewards of additional pollinators in your garden.
What are some things that you do in your own backyard to support pollinator?. Share it with the community by leaving a comment below, or visiting the Keeping Backyard Bees Facebook Page.