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Insect hotel

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Post by Chilli-head on 24th June 2017, 11:30 am

Years ago, inspired by Blue Peter, Jnr and I made an insect hotel from scrap plywood, plastic pipe and old canes. Amazingly it is still in one piece, and even more amazingly it looks like it has occupants ! Some of the cane ends have been sealed off with bits of leaf. Any ideas who does that ?
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Post by Dandelion on 27th June 2017, 10:10 pm

I'm wondering about a leaf cutter bee...

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Post by Ploshkin on 28th June 2017, 7:29 am

Leafcutter was my first thought but they make a cigarette sized tube out of leaves. It could be that they have made the leaf tube inside the pipe. Have you seen any elliptical shaped holes (about 15mm) in leaves of shrubs?
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Post by Chilli-head on 1st July 2017, 7:39 pm

I've not noticed holes in my shrubs,  but a Google image search does confirm that they are leaf cutter bees.  As they are supposed to be excellent pollinators,  and they are right by my apple trees,  they are very welcome !

Lots of insect life in our garden at the moment.  I have umbellifers flowering,  both parsley and coriander,  which are good for attracting beneficial insects.


Last edited by Chilli-head on 2nd July 2017, 10:20 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post by FloBear on 2nd July 2017, 10:15 pm

My rampant oregano is flowering now and attracting all sorts of bees as well as a wasp, some hoverflies and a fly. Quite a few butterflies out and about in the sunshine - a comma made it into the house but I managed to hoosh it out again.
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Post by FloBear on 29th August 2017, 10:26 am

I applied for a Wildlife Friendly Garden Plaque a couple of weeks ago as I'd seen one on a garden locally while walking the dog.
Thank you for applying for the Dorset Wildlife Trust wildlife friendly garden plaque!

Thank you for your photos - you have covered all bases for wildlife which is fantastic. The hanging bee home in the tree which hasn't been used may be better placed somewhere sunnier. It seemed it might be a bit shady for them also they like the homes to be fixed in one place rather than swinging around. So it could be moved to a sunny wall or fence?
Your ponds look very well designed and well done on having some Autumn/Winter nectar available which is such a crucial time for our bees and butterflies.

From your application and photos I counted at least 9 features which means that you qualify for our plaque. Congratulations! This means that you are doing your bit for wildlife which needs our help now more than ever!

It's only a small thing, about 3 to 4ins (plaque not dog Very Happy ) and should arrive in about a week.

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Post by Chilli-head on 29th August 2017, 10:39 am

Very good Flobear, nice to get your efforts recognised. Do you have to do any more than display your plaque ? Perhaps there should be a wildlife version of the open gardens events .... Have we seen pictures of your ponds yet ? I'd like to put a pond back in our garden, having filled in the old one when the garden had to be safe for small children. I also removed our laburnum because of its poisonous but attractive seeds. Strangely, now C-H jnr is a teenager, about three seedling laburnums have appeared unbidden to replace the origiinal !

Just noticed my posts about the insect hotel - I did find where the disks of leaves were coming from, there were holes in my crab apple tree leaves.

There seem to be lots of butterflies around this year, I think. They seem to take an interest in my grape vines at the moment, not sure why but perhaps they can get at the sugars, some of the fruits damaged by wasps are probably quite an easy source ?
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Post by freebird on 29th August 2017, 1:52 pm

Well done Flo. I wonder if other local authorities will take up the idea. Any pics to see?
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Post by FloBear on 30th August 2017, 4:52 pm

Thank you.
It's Dorset Wildlife Trust that does it so other Wildlife Trusts may do so too.
I'll have a go at posting pics but it's not always easy on this site Neutral
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Post by FloBear on 30th August 2017, 4:56 pm


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Post by FloBear on 30th August 2017, 4:58 pm

Not as tricky as I thought - or beginner's luck!

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Post by FloBear on 30th August 2017, 5:00 pm


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Post by FloBear on 30th August 2017, 5:01 pm



The ponds are completely covered in duckweed at the moment so all you can see is a green surface. The back pond (larger) has so much oxygenating weed just now that small birds just walk about on the surface. Have seen a grey wagtail twice too.
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Post by Jaded Green on 30th August 2017, 6:13 pm

Lovely pictures. We have a pile of sticks underneath our gas meter on the side of the hose. It is by the porch and not an area where anything will grow easily. It got moved when the house was painted last and I rebuilt it but I was looking at it the other day and thinking it didn't look very good. Don't want to disturb it though.
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Post by FloBear on 30th August 2017, 8:32 pm

I'm sure the residents were very grateful for that decision JG!
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Post by freebird on 30th August 2017, 8:38 pm

That looks fantastic, Flo, and makes me realise how much I have in my garden too. It wouldn't take much tweaking for me to fulfill their criteria - but I don't live in Dorset.
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Post by Ploshkin on 31st August 2017, 8:05 am

That's brilliant Flobear.  I have stag beetle envy - it must be nearly 40 years since I last saw one.  I did come across a small scorpion like thing the other day and googled it, it is a Devil's Coach Horse Beetle.
I'm fortunate that my garden manages to be wildlife friendly pretty much on its own as it doesn't really have boundaries - just goes off into woodland.  I just cut a bit of grass by the house so we don't have to fight our way out with a machete and plant a big patch of flowers for bees where I can see them from the window.
This year we have a very noticeable number of wrens in our hedgerows (and a semi resident in my polytunnel) which is lovely.
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Post by Ploshkin on 31st August 2017, 10:38 am

Me again Flobear.  Do you have borage?  It's so pretty and bees love it (it produces good honey if grown in acres).  It is of course a generous self seeder but easy enough to recognise and evict if you don't want it somewhere.  A perennial that bumble bees adore is Stachys.  The plant I have in my garden was covered in Mother Shipton moths as well last year.
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Post by Chilli-head on 31st August 2017, 11:40 am

Hah.  We did some of our early testing work (machine vision guided tractor hoes) in a field where someone had once planted borage, which came up for years after as a weed.  Taking the hoe through the field to see how much weed we could handle, there was a huge humming and bees everywhere following the tractor.  So, I can vouch for it, bees love borage, and can get a bit angry when you try to hoe it out  !
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Post by FloBear on 31st August 2017, 10:07 pm

Always nice to know what the bees will like. And my garden will take a fair amount of self seeders as long as they're easy to pull up. Can't remember if I've said before that the BaDS beekeepers have their apiary a little way up the road from me.
I'm wondering if it's worth freebird - or anyone -googling their local Wildlife Trust - they may have a similar scheme.
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