Bee, Bird, and Bat Boxes
Every backyard habitat needs food, water, and shelter if it is going to provide for the minimal needs of the wildlife with which you intend to share your garden. If you have planted the appropriate native plants and installed a bird bath or small pond, you've gone quite along way towards providing the food and water components of a habitat. But providing shelter can be somewhat more difficult, depending on how mature the plants are in your landscape and how much cover they provide. And even if you have sufficient cover for day to day living, it is often difficult to provide natural shelter for raising young. Cavity nesters, be they bee or bird, need holes in wood to raise their babies. And I would venture to say that relatively few of us have mature enough trees or the dead snags that will accommodate such birds as Kestrels, Screech Owls, Downy Woodpeckers, or Great Crested Flycatchers. The good news is that these birds and more, given the right habitat, will readily use artificial nest boxes. Even better news: we have that bird box for sale for you. And believe it or not, we also provide nest boxes for wood cavity-nesting native solitary bees, as well as shelter for those Florida bat species that may use a bat box. And, finally, we also provide small Bug Condos, that are designed to shelter a variety of beneficial insects, reptiles, and amphibians.
Help your hard-working local pollinators by adding this box to your landscape. Species such as Mason and Leafcutter bees will appreciate having a solitary bee nest box like this one placed near the flowers they are foraging, saving the female bee time and energy traveling to a more distant nest site. For more info about these kinds of boxes, visit www.xerces.org or www.pollinator.org
Pollinators in the Garden: Bringing the Buzz Back
Pollinators play a key role in our gardens and the most important pollinators of all are the bees. Yet many do not know very much about bees...and some are even very afraid of them because of the potential they offer to inflict pain on us. But if our environment is to remain a healthy one, we must begin to learn more about our native bees and other pollinators and examine are fears of these creatures in a more realistic way. A good place to start is by checking out the following Resources and Links:
- Attracting Native Pollinators, Xerces Society
- Bringing Nature Home, Douglas Tallamy
- Insects and Gardens: In Pursuit of a Garden Ecology, Eric Grissell
- Bees, Wasps, and Ants: The Indispensable Role of Hymenoptera in Gardens, Eric Grissell
- Pollinator Partnership; www.pollinator.org
- University of Florida; www.UFnativebuzz.com
- Florida Wildflower Foundation; www.flawildflowers.org
- YouTube ( search for videos on mason bees, native bees, etc)
- The Xerces Society; www.xerces.org
- Tunnel Nest Management Fact Sheet (PDF)
Did You Know?
Great Crested Flycatchers are cavity-nesters that will also use artificial nest boxes. Inside the box, they will make their nest out of a variety of materials, much of it trash like paper, string,cellophane and plastic wrapper. Other favored materials include leaves, hair, feathers, bark, and especially shed snakeskin. These birds are insect-eaters and spend most of their time in tree canopies, but will swoop down to the ground after prey. But don't expect to see them on the ground, hopping or walking around looking for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.