How and when to use your BeeFoster Nurseries
Raising native bees is both art and science. There are thousands of varieties of native bees and your particular location may be more or less suitable for bees than others. Here are a few things you can do to make your nursery as effective as possible.
Provide local greenery
Bees need plants to pollinate! Native flowering plants provide the food and materials bees require. Because they are already adapted to your environment, native plants are hardy and well-equipped to fill niches in your local ecosystem. Many of them are specially adapted to native bees and vice versa. If you want your nursery to be full of healthy, happy wild bees, it is absolutely necessary you have these plants nearby. Click here for a fantastic guide on native flowers from the Xerces Society. Remember: a perfectly manicured lawn is a nightmare for pollinators!
Location, location, location
Beefoster nurseries tend to do best in sunny locations, facing south or southeast to capture that warm morning light. Native bees won't usually travel more than 300 feet to find pollen or building materials, so try to have a variety of flowering plants nearby as well as a patch of bare earth or mud: mason bees will use this to fill their nesting tubes. If your area is on the dry side, consider leaving a hose on near the nursery a couple times a week. You can even dig a couple holes nearby and pour water in them to allow the bees quick and easy access to mud.
Timing isn't everything- but it's pretty important
The best time to set up your nursery is whenever nearby plants are flowering. More specifically, try to have your nursery outside by the time temperatures are consistently reaching 55 degrees Farenheit or higher. Though bee diversity varies by location, in general, mason bees will be more active in the spring and leaf cutter bees are active in the summer. We recommend you leave your nursery out for as long as possible, from early spring to fall.
Mount the nursery somewhere secure
We're tree farmers, so we have lots of tools and scrap wood around the shop. In this case, we screwed a couple 2x4's together. Then we used fender washers and wood screws to hold the Blue3 Nursery in place. Because we live in the Ozarks, there isn't much soil on the hillsides, so we use rocks to make the setup more secure. However, you can also attach your nursery to a fence, hand rail, or anywhere else that ensures it stays put.