My first post, and I think I should start off by saying I know NOTHING about bees. The only thing I do know is that I like them. I purchased from Costco a bee house (attached in the photo) and threw it up on my west facing fence a couple years ago without even a silly plan to attract bees. I have no ambition on attracting a certain bee type, and I think that if it were honey bees the mess might just be crazy. In retrospect, I might have thought about putting something in the house to attract them? I just placed it by my larger apple tree thinking it flowers very nicely in the spring and the bees might just move in (I know).
I began to look at all of the information on this site, and to be honest got a bit overwhelmed. I'm not looking for a new hobby, I just thought it might be nice to provide some bees a place to live. Any thoughts?
You will get other kinds of bees in that but not honeybees. Too small.
If you want to attract honey bees it is basically too late this year unless you are in the deep south or Hawaii. Trapping wild honeybee swarms is both easy and frustrating, some years you get lots and some years zero. You can buy a swarm trap or make them easily. Check out the forum on trapping for ideas. Basically all you need is a box with a hole, at the most basic. If you don't mind spending some money you can buy a complete beehive with all the trimmings. Then either leave it as a trap, or buy bees.
Put your location in your profile, so people can give you advice that is location specific.
Mason bees and other native pollinators may utilize your 'bee house'. It depends on what your native bee species are. I am not aware of any N. American native bees that produce enough honey to interest any critter bigger than a bee.
I know that in the U.S. there are websites that sell orchard bees, aka mason bees. Leaf cutters are also available. There may be Canadian sellers, too. The web also has a lot of info on how to propagate various native pollinators.
I am presuming you want pollinators. If you want honey or wax, honey bees are your only choice. And yes, they are a lot of work and a lot of mess, and a lot of pain and a lot of self-satisfaction for a job well done. That is, after you have learned to stop killing them.
Also, put that house facing the east- southeast in shade if you can. It might also help to scorch the outside edges of those holes. That particular house is designed for mason/orchard bees. They naturally nest in old dead trees, often burned trees with borer holes. They only mate in the early spring, so that house is only a decoration until then. Mason bees are great for early spring pollination, then they are done for the season. And FYI, they look a lot like big houseflies.
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