Hopalong Hollow....

Hopalong Hollow, where the Blueberries grow sweet, and the moss feels soft beneath your feet.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

New rabbits in the works and a Bee haven for you to build.

In between  building projects and continual garden care, I've been working on a few Hares

 and  a small gray pussy cat holding her Felix the cat doll.


 Part 3 of the Building Project:
 A few weeks ago, I posted about solitary bees and gave a few examples of small "bee houses".
Today, I present to you a fun project: Building a Beneficial Bug house.
 
This is a straight-forward project but I was grateful that James took over the basic building chores
because he is better with the power tools than me. That should not stop any woman from making this, if you are familiar with using tools. We used leftover rough-cut boards from our barn building.
One piece is cut with a 45 degree angle for the roof, this is the back of the bee house.
The 2 Side pieces are attached to the peaked back using wood screws.
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Equal size boards create the finished roofing.

You may be asking yourself, "Why the heck would anyone go to all this trouble to attract a bunch of bugs!!? Is she crazy?"
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Actually, it took less than 2 hours to build it and
you will soon see that I am not nuts.
 You can build this at any size you wish, that is why I did not give measurements. Ours is about 4 feet tall because it is meant to fit into a particular spot.
We added 5 shelves to our roofed "box", it is finished.
This is the fun part:  Go gathering!
We want items that will be a comfy-cozy nesting place for the GOOD Bugs. WHY? Surely they can find their own hotels without OUR help. Yes, they can... and sometimes that is   INSIDE your house. If you  have ever had a ladybug invasion, you know what I am talking about. 

The main insects I am trying to attract are the Solitary bees and those insects which feed on garden pests.

 Straw and grasses stuffed in pots and gourds will attract Lacewings and Ladybugs. Lacewings eat aphids, mealybugs, whiteflies and thrip.

Bamboo tubes and pierced 1/4" holes in logs are nesting holes for Mason bees and dozens of other Solitary Bees.

The bricks will house members of  Wasp family. Wasps have a bad reputation. I have been stung many a time; however wasps  are relatives of the bee and provide a useful service as the great hunters of the insect world. Without them we would be over-run with insects. Grasshoppers, beetles and chewing caterpillars are victims of the wasp, and that is fine by me.

 Earwigs will gather in the crevices of  pine-cones, lichens and old bark. They devour aphids as well.
I concentrated most on the nesting holes for the Mason bees, because I really want these wonderful pollinators in my gardens.
But just as importantly, to me anyway, is that this structure is aesthetically pleasing, in fact, I find it rather BEAUTIFUL

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I've already had a little critter checking out the apartments.. but it is a firefly, I think he is just being nosy.
I think some of my blogger friends may be very interested in building one of these Bee and Bug Havens.


This is all part of the grand plan. We will have the entire project pulled together and posted next week!

38 comments:

  1. Oh Jeri, this is wonderful! What a great way to attract beneficial insects to our gardens--and it looks great too! I'm showing this to my hubby! ♥

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  2. If that isn't the neatest thing I've seen in a long time. Just love it. Tell me you're still in your thirties with endless energy. The muse is definitely riding on your shoulder.

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  3. Will all these diverse bugs live so closely together in one confined spot? Won t the wasps eat the others, etc?

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    1. Most wasps are not an enemy of the bee, and that was my main concern.Solitary wasps, such as the Passaloecus, an aphid eater, are the kind drawn to this sort of structure.

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  4. Very Nice!
    My heart sinks a little to read earwigs eat aphids. I so dislike it when earwigs tumble out of the rolled up canopy in the morning. Now that I know they eat aphids, I might make a roll up night tarp for my rose bush. :)

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    1. I know, I used to hate those things! But now I see them in an entirely new light>

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  5. Well I sure learned something about bugs! Thanks Jeri, you have indeed made quite a lovely hotel for them..
    Your rabbits and cat are sweet as can be.. .I love that the cat is hold Felix!
    Have a great weekend.
    fondly,
    Penny

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    1. Penny, I wonder how many of us remember Felix the cat?!

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    2. Well, we certainly do... You know my mom had a Felix the cat kitchen clock. They eyes and tail moved as it ticked away.. Wish I had that clock..

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  6. I love your bug apt. complex! It seems like once the word is out in bugland, they will be flying/buzzing right on in.

    Your little gray cat looks sweet holding her own little Felix doll. :-)

    Have a great weekend ~ FlowerLady

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    1. Lorraine, you can also make small bug havens from discarded knick knack boxes or shelves, anything with compartments will work. It would look nice in your garden.

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  7. ha! my son is just about to build a huge one of these for the community gardens. i just wood burned a sign for it....bug-ingham palace!

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    1. I have seen really huge ones in community gardens, they are incredibly interesting. I hope you will post a picture of it when it is complete>

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  8. Jeri, your bug house is a work of art! I did not know earwigs eat aphids. The ones I find in my house will now be captured and released into my garden where I have an aphid problem. But I don't know what to do about the wasps. Their sting is quite unpleasant and I've never allowed their nests to remain near the areas we congregate outside. I wouldn't mind their visiting my garden, but I don't think I could abide their whole family at one time! I have a problem with grasshoppers eating things every year. I have snakes (my startled screams will attest to this) and birds in my garden already, so don't know what else I can do about them.

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    1. Cathy, Social wasps like Yellow Jackets would not be welcome in my garden, but they generally build community nests in the ground closer to our meadow. We have a wasp here, we call a mud dauber, oh how i detest those things! But again, they are social wasps and build their interesting paper nests on the side of the house and in the eaves of the barn.

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  9. GOOD MORNING JERI LANDERS, from Carmel, California!

    OK, this is now the second time I've heard of lacewings; here as we stroll the gorgeous cottage gardens of this seaside haven, we ran into a professional gardener who gave us some tips about our roses. She mentioned the lacewings! OK, I am loving this idea because like you, I want GOOD bugs in our garden because I do not want to use any pesticides! We just planted a gorgeous red climbing rose, and I do not want to get into the fastidious and unhealthy task of using bug killers. I'd rather attract the lacewings....my goodness, I hope we have them in Minnesota! See what an ignoramus I am when it comes to nature? teehehee

    I LOVE THIS BUG HOUSE! And like you, I am not afraid of using any tools but sometimes, our mates are a little quicker in finishing up the task. OH! You should see the pickett fences here in Carmel....Ruben is going to make me a small one to hid the chain link fence that shows through a portion of our arbor vitae wall.....the cedar 2 x 4s are figured on the edges to give that Hansel and Gretal look to them....I will share photos on my blog when I get back.

    HAVE FUN! Anita

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    1. Anita, ah, you are on vacation, lucky you! I hope you are taking a lot of photos of Carmel, I was there many years ago, so beautiful. As you know, I am a huge fan of Picket fences, Ruben will build you a charmer, I am sure!

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  10. This is just really cute. I love it. Maybe I can talk Bill into building me one and I can come up with the little compartments to go inside.

    How nice to have grand plans all pulled together and taken to completion. So satisfying.

    Now what's the next project on your drawing board? Surely you have something in mind. Although now that summer seems to be here along with the heat and humidity I'm planning on spending a good bit more time inside in the cool. Thank goodness for air conditioning!

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    1. I think I'm about finished with this years garden projects. Now, i can just enjoy the fruits of our labors. I have to work on book illustrations for the next few months.

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  11. I LOVE this, Jeri! It is a beautiful and practical work of art for the garden. Do you think the different insects will live happily together here? and must it be kept in a shady location? This looks like a super fun and educational project I might want to do with my boys. thank you for sharing this!!!!

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  12. This is absolutely fascinating. I love it!!

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  13. Dearest Jeri!!!
    That is so wonderful and delightful to the eye and functional to the nature world that needs our help a bit sometimes!! You are having waaaaay cooooool too much fun being creative and making these wonderful things (with the help of dear willing hubby James) !! And I am having waay cool fun seeing all this and realizing that I could make one of these too if I tried!!!
    Just beautiful, and so are your SWEET FELTIES!! Gosh those feltie critters are awesome and DELIGHTFUL!!!!
    Much warmth xx oo Linnie Lou

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  14. PS Thank you for stopping over to the Ice cream party !! :-)

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  15. Dear Jeri,

    What sweet little animals you're making, and I'm drooling over your bug hotel! When I first learned about them, the only sites that featured them were in German, which I don't read. I am so happy that their popularity is spreading! I think that it would be a great business making and selling these at farmer's markets.

    Love,

    Marqueta

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  16. I see a project in my future....thanks for the ideas, Jeri!!

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  17. Hi Jeri,
    I am so happy you enjoyed meeting Gus. Thank you so much for your encouraging words.
    I really appreciate it...
    I have been in the rose garden today.. Poor things, they are really looking sad.. If they perk up I will share some photos.
    fondly,
    Penny

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  18. This is just beautiful-it's a work of art in itself. I know I want to make one!

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  19. What an awesome idea, and clever too. I think you may of just made many bugs very happy to have their own nest :) I love the cute critters you create as well. Blessings sweet friend ♡

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    1. Hi Shelly, those little bugs are moving into the apartments each day, soon there will be no more vacancies!

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  20. I have never seen a firefly (lighting bug in the deep south) up close. My hubs and I were in Michigan one year in October. Prime apple picking time. We went to a you pick orchard and we were swarmed by lady bugs! We had never seen anything like it. They were all over us and our car and the apple trees! We were swatting at them and trying to get back into the car. And lady bugs bite! We still laugh about that. What an experience! Oh and the apples were great! Thanks for sharing. Carol

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    1. Oh those ladybugs! We had a serious invasion one year, we were vacuuming hundreds of the little buggers off the ceiling every single day for a month! I adore fireflies. I never saw them when I lived in Colorado, but here in Tennessee, June is the month for lightning bugs.

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  21. Your little critters have an attractive place to call home, for sure! I am enjoying looking around your blog...lots to admire here!

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  22. Thank you, I hope they fill every nook and cranny!

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  23. Someone up above asked if the bug hotel needs to be in the shade...I didn't see a response? I can't wait to make one of these. Also, I'm wondering when you'll be making a new video? I've been waiting very patiently. LOL I just saw my first firefly of the season last night....love them :)

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    1. Hi Michelle, It doesn't need to be in the shade. I have one in full sun and another in full shade. I just made a video on this very subject. After I made the video and tried to play it, my audio was completely lost! I'm re-doing it, I will have it up within a few days promise.

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