Gardening for Butterflies, Birds and Bees forum: Butterfly and beneficial insect houses

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Name: ilona
Lovell, Maine (Western ME near (Zone 5a)
Organic Gardener Cat Lover Butterflies Hummingbirder Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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MissiveMaven
Jan 16, 2018 9:19 AM CST
I have seen lots of ads for butterfly and beneficial insect (bee) houses. I'd like a recommendation for a good one, if anyone has tried - either the bees or the butterflies (but especially the butterflies). Some of the ones I've seen look pretty dubious.

I'm also wondering if it's really necessary... my garden has a profusion of both bees (of all kinds) and butterflies, so obviously they are happily living somewhere and probably don't *need* the house anyway.

These are the things I spend the long winters thinking about, while waiting eagerly for spring!
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Birds Region: California Fruit Growers Dragonflies Butterflies Bee Lover
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NCRAS
Jan 23, 2018 9:24 PM CST
Hi MM,

I enjoyed researching your question. My yard is a work in progress, but I try to create and maintain diverse habitats, from rock and brush piles to leaving some dead wood in trees. I am also going to take some of the recommendations from the following sources:

http://www.xerces.org/wp-conte...
https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/Inte...
https://bonnieplants.com/libra...

In regard to purchasing "houses," my only experience is through a farmer friend who planted all sort of flowers to attract and "keep" Mason bees in his cherry orchard. He placed "paper tubes" in a 5 gallon buckets set sideways. He put quite a bit of time and research into this and all I know for sure is that he did not continue with this project but those flowers sure were beautiful! He set up the tubes and the Mason bees did use them as we watched them come and go. I think the main issue was that many bees appeared to have left the orchard or died and there was a process for overwintering them that based on the first season of wild/Mason bee keeping was one of diminishing returns. I searched "Mason Bees" on YouTube and it states 58000 results so there is no shortage of information there. After reading the article (link below), I now know what those 4x4's with holes drilled in them were for... ;-) Good luck!

http://www.hobbyfarms.com/make...

Thank you for your help, I really appreciate it!
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Birds Region: California Fruit Growers Dragonflies Butterflies Bee Lover
Amaryllis Tomato Heads Vegetable Grower Cactus and Succulents Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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NCRAS
Jan 24, 2018 7:22 PM CST
I found this video informative in regard to native bees and ideas for habitat: https://youtu.be/d9jWyGt2VHE
Thank you for your help, I really appreciate it!
Name: ilona
Lovell, Maine (Western ME near (Zone 5a)
Organic Gardener Cat Lover Butterflies Hummingbirder Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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MissiveMaven
Feb 10, 2018 4:14 PM CST
Thanks so much! This is all very useful.

Thank You!
Name: Dana
Canton, OH (Zone 6a)
Project Junkie & One Hit Wonder =P
Daylilies Butterflies Hummingbirder Cat Lover Dog Lover Roses
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bloominholes2fill
Feb 14, 2018 9:02 AM CST
Is it true that if one has Mason bees in their garden that there won't be so many regular bees that are more prone to sting me? Blinking
"The grass is only greener where it's watered and fertilized.".....Yours Truly
Dana
https://garden.org/blogs/view/...
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Mid-Atlantic Composter Region: Maryland Birds
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sallyg
Mar 2, 2018 7:40 AM CST
Butterfly boxes don't seem very useful to butterflies
http://www.naba.org/qanda.html

( the only bees that have ever stung me are the ones I step on in clover. Though we have had yellowjacket nests a few times had to deal with, right next to the sidewalk. All the others bees and wasps are too happy with pollen and nectar and caterpillars.)
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
Name: Dana
Canton, OH (Zone 6a)
Project Junkie & One Hit Wonder =P
Daylilies Butterflies Hummingbirder Cat Lover Dog Lover Roses
Region: Ohio Winter Sowing Composter Birds Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
bloominholes2fill
Mar 2, 2018 11:19 AM CST
I've read that the presence of a mason bee nest in the garden deters honey bees from nesting in the same area. I was stung by bees whose nest was in the ground, in one of my perennial gardens, 4 times in one day, when weeding that garden, bc we didn't know the nest was there until after being stung and my DH and DD investigated. Sad I also was stung later that same year bc I got too close to a bee I didn't see flying around the blooms on some ground cover. D'Oh! ( I ripped out most of that ground cover since Blinking ) I do keep watch for bees, and move to another area until they leave the first area....Respect from a distance! Hilarious! I made a habit of that long before those 5 stings in one year, too! Sighing!

As for butterfly houses, I had hornets take up residence in mine Glare and I haven't had one since. Sighing! Can't argue with nature! Shrug!
"The grass is only greener where it's watered and fertilized.".....Yours Truly
Dana
https://garden.org/blogs/view/...
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Mid-Atlantic Composter Region: Maryland Birds
Cat Lover Dog Lover Region: United States of America
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sallyg
Mar 2, 2018 11:38 AM CST
I respect your concerns, Dana. I would hate to get stung 5x in a year. I often get the one stepped on, then start wearing footwear more for the rest of the summer, lol .

One of our parks had a display of housing for insects,cute and rustic, by stacking clay pots on their sides, and filling each pot with a different loose organic material for insects seeking shelter- sticks, cones, etc. I am not so sure the insects really care other than mason bees, which there has been alot written about, using man made items.
(excuse my lack of sentence structure, lol)

I have trimmings off last years garden left in various places, to serve as winter shelter, and will clean them up as spring gets the insects moving.

Dana you also raise a point- being insect friendly to only specific ones is pretty hard to do, I think. Another example being, we plant flowers for butterflies, but wasps and bees like them too, though I guess you can try to cater a little.

Then again, having more insects of all kinds should bring more songbirds, so there's that...

To the original question, I personally doubt the effectiveness or butterfly and, ladybug houses,mason bees have a lot written and may work,, they can be cute and make you feel like you tried.


..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
Name: Dana
Canton, OH (Zone 6a)
Project Junkie & One Hit Wonder =P
Daylilies Butterflies Hummingbirder Cat Lover Dog Lover Roses
Region: Ohio Winter Sowing Composter Birds Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Level 1
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bloominholes2fill
Mar 2, 2018 11:55 AM CST
Oops! Double post!
"The grass is only greener where it's watered and fertilized.".....Yours Truly
Dana
https://garden.org/blogs/view/...
[Last edited by bloominholes2fill - Mar 2, 2018 11:56 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1651095 (9)
Name: Dana
Canton, OH (Zone 6a)
Project Junkie & One Hit Wonder =P
Daylilies Butterflies Hummingbirder Cat Lover Dog Lover Roses
Region: Ohio Winter Sowing Composter Birds Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
bloominholes2fill
Mar 2, 2018 11:59 AM CST
Touche' Sally! Smiling
"The grass is only greener where it's watered and fertilized.".....Yours Truly
Dana
https://garden.org/blogs/view/...

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