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1053Re: [beemonitoring] Adobe/Bank nesting bees and building nests for such

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  • Eric Mader
    Apr 15, 2010

      Interesting topic, Sam!


      I was talking with Matthew Shepherd here in the office and we had one thought to add to this discussion.


      What do folks think is the potential for these structures to become a population sink in their local landscape as they age and potentially become infested with chalkbrood spores and pollen mites?


      I know from my days managing alfalfa leafcutter bees that parasites and diseases build up incredibly fast any time nesting substrates are repeatedly re-used by solitary bees.


      On the one hand I think a certain level of pathogens and nest parasitism can be interesting from an educational standpoint, and can really engage people in the complexities of bee life. On the other hand, I have seen old nest blocks that are so contaminated that no new eggs deposited in them survive. Such a scenario seems likely to discourage rather than engage the general public if these types of walls are on formal display.


      For large scale leafcutter and mason beekeeping most people have moved to loose-cell management or elaborate nest phase out systems to maintain bee health. With fixed substrates, arranged in these beautiful and artistic configurations, that seems like a challenge.


      Anyone have thoughts on this?





      On Wed, Apr 14, 2010 at 10:21 AM, Sam Droege <sdroege@...> wrote:


      Today, Shelley Small passed on the following link regarding "Insect Walls."  These essentially being elaborate and artistic structures for hole nesting species.


      Very nicely done and some neat designs for Nature Centers to contemplate.

      I e-spoke to the author, Rochelle Greayer, about the fact that some species readily nest in the walls made of adobe or earthen plasters.  In my strawbale/adobe house house I have Anthophora abrupta (hundreds), Anthophora plumipes (introduced and unfortunately increasing), Ptilothrix bombiformis (small numbers), Melitoma taurea (small numbers), and numerous Osmia, Megachile, Chrysidid, micro-hymenoptera hangers on nesting.  

      She would be interested in putting up a bit more about bees that live in adobe structures, earthen walls, or, better yet, structures of earth that people have made for these species.  So, if you have any examples, stories, or observations from around the world please share (you can post to me or to the list...I think it is of general enough interest that it would be good to have archived).

      Thanks, as always.


      Sam Droege  sdroege@...                      
      w 301-497-5840 h 301-390-7759 fax 301-497-5624
      USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
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      Eric Mader
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