Saturday, 23 June 2012

Bumblebees and boxes

An old mosaiced house number 
I read about how bumblebees nest in the ground, and then I discovered that you can help the little fuzzballs out by making a bumblebee box for them to live in.  I googled a couple of options, found out what they need and then set off to the shed last dark and miserable Sunday morning.  I found just what I was looking for - discarded wooden packaging pieces (untreated) which were almost the right size.  I glued and nailed 4 sides together.  Then I screwed them together for extra strength.
A middle partition forms a sleeping area

Drilling a hole for the entrance-way
I drilled 2 big holes with a Big-Hole-Drill (you can guess, I may know my way around the shed and tools, but the precise names elude me).  One hole formed an air-flow hole, which I covered in wired mesh to stop slugs and other unwanted mousy visitors out.  The second hole was drilled to provide an entrance way.

The air hole with double chicken wire mesh to
filter visitors
I decided to make my box open up at one end, where the sleeping quarters are located.  This side allows me to clean out the bedding if need be.  Bedding consists of moss or hay/straw.  A brightly coloured little duvet might be cosy - only kidding!  The hinged opening was made by cutting strips of inner rubber tyre tubes (free from tyre shops) and stapling them in place.  The closing clasps are made in a similar manner, a small cut made in the end piece and screws to secure them.
Now I just need to find a place to put the Bumblebee Box.  It needs to be on the ground, out of direct sunlight but in a sheltered position...........  I believe that my box might be a season away from being inhabited - winter is not a good time to offer new digs.  I won't hold my breath............. 
It was fun to make it.  

Both hinges and closing clasps made from old tyre inners

The piece-d'resistance - a tubular entrance 

The opening part 

I followed instructions to add a metal nail at entrance of tube
to deter slugs and snails
I have a habit of making homes for creatures in the garden - OCD.  My cat likes boxes, almost as much as I like making them!  I have several bird houses out there - their designs just keep on getting better.  One spring, we had 3 families of starlings side by side on the fence!  It was such a thrill, but Mike plugged the holes up the following Spring as he said they made far too much noise!  Later versions of the Bird Abode include openings to clean out old nests in preparation for new spring egg layings.  Speaking of which............... our lazy old Tarts, or more commonly referred to as The Girls, have begun to lay again!  6 eggs in all, over a week - not bad innings!  They haven't laid for more than 3 months!!  Been on egg-holiday!  The eggs are elongated - I think that is terribly sensible, being so cold, you wouldn't want your openings to open up too much!  It'd let too much of a draft up the shaft!!

Old versions of a Bird Nesting Box

No sign of birds but certainly spiders have moved in!
These hinges are made from old school sandals
This little furry guy was caught snuggling up to one of my
pumpkins back in April.  Wish I had had my Bumblebee Box
ready for him back then when it started to get cold!
So I shall keep my bumblebee box in the shed and find a suitable placement just before Spring and then wait with bated breath...........

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