In the spring of 2016, I purchased a bee hotel from the Edmonton and Area Land Trust. I put the bee hotel in my garden in May of that year.
The first summer, I had a number of guests, mason bees and leaf cutter bees. There were cuttings in on my roses where the leaf cutter bees had harvested material.
This spring, activity started early with bees flying in and out. One day when my granddaughter was looking at the hotel a bee came flying out! The bees usually make about 75 trips to complete a cell. The outside of the cell sealant shows which are Leaf Cutter bees as they are greenish while the Mason bees have a grey or black cover from mud and Masked bees have a white fill from cellophane-like material. There are a lot more cells filled in this year than last.
One morning at about 7 am I heard a loud tapping outside. We get downy woodpeckers in the yard on the trees, but it sounded very close to the window, so I went out on the deck to see where the woodpecker was drilling. To my surprise, it was near the bee hotel, and I had scared it off. I went over to check it out and sure enough, there were drill marks around the bee entrance! It must have decided to try out the hole to see if anything was in it - I'm not sure if the woodpecker got any bee eggs or larva.
by Marg Reine
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