Sunday, April 13, 2014

DIY Mason Bee Hive of Paper


Our wonderful neighbors have the busiest pets - mason bees! They only live 2 months but help pollinate our plants during a crucial time. Our blueberry bushes were the fullest they've ever been last year and our neighbors are generously sharing their extra cocoons with us.

Although they also gave us a pre-made house, there are so many extra cocoons that I wanted to build a second house - out of paper of course. It's easy enough to buy paper straws, but where's the fun in that?


When the bees hatch, they remember the color of their "door" - in this case green, to match the tissue box. I made a removable velcro door "lock to keep the door from moving around, yet allow the paper tubes to come out. I will be placing the cocoons inside the hollow door cavity. Here you can see the opposite side of the velcro and the other door stopper along the top.



Remove the door stoppers and out comes the paper tubes. Mason bees don't sting (unless squeezed or stepped on) and they don't make honey - just more bees. They lay eggs in the tube, place pollen next to the egg, then mud up a wall to divide the space for the next egg. In the fall when the cocoons have hardened, it's a good time for us to clean out the tubes, remove the mud, get rid of spider mites and store in the fridge to keep them safe from predators like wasps.



I've heard with store-bought paper tubes you would soak them in water to slowly unravel. To make it easier on myself, I only glued a tiny bit near the back end to make insertion into my hive easier - should be easy to slit open with a craft knife. I cut sheets of 8.5x11 paper in half to get 8.5x5.5 sheets. Then I cut them down into thirds to approximately 2.75 x 5.5 inches (so 6 pieces in total per sheet). I rolled them around a crochet hook, glued just the very end, and inserted into the holders.



I made two tube holders with 8.5mm holes. The front holder has holes on both sides, allowing the tube to pass through. The back holder is solid on the back wall, keeping the tubes even. I plan to color code the front wall to make it easier for them to find their tube - apparently they get confused if it all looks the same.

I have no idea if this will work - check back with me in the fall. There are many tutorials on-line showing so many materials used. One could buy the paper tubes and encircle with a rubber band and achieve the same result. I guess I could have made it full of tubes and no holders, but it was just fun to make the holders with my Silhouette SD die cutter.

Have you ever made a paper mason bee hive?

14 comments:

  1. This is the coolest thing! I'd never heard of mason bees, so thanks for the introduction.

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    1. Hi Ann, I'm happy I was able to show you something you've never seen - quite the feat considering how you appear to be omnipresent!

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  2. Same here...Never heard before and Thanks much for the elaborate intro....And your paper construction is just lovely and thoughtful :)

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    1. Hi Sathya, thanks! Do you garden as well?

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  3. Hi Cecelia, I have had your book Pretty Quilled Cards on pre-order from Amazon (UK) since October, it finally arrived in the post yesterday - stunning, and well worth the wait. your quilling is amazing and really inspiring. I found your blog details in your book and have just joined up as a follower - there is so much to look at, it's fabulous! Is it too late to comment/leave my email address for all the Party Favour Pattern's? I haven't seen anything like them before and they are so cute. I am going to have fun catching up with your blog over the next few weeks. Thank you for publishing such a beautiful book. Best Wishes, Karen Sinclair.

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    1. Hi Karen, I was jumping up and down reading your comment - my first UK Amazon reader! I'm sorry for my tardy reply, but I've just got back from being out of town. Yes, please leave me your email and I'll send you my party favor patterns. Thanks so much for your inspiring words :D
      Cecelia

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    2. Hi Cecelia, I am glad I made your day, but I am not the only one who loves your book; I have just left a review on Amazon (UK) and there are already a few others on there - all positive I really can't tell you how much I love your book, and in reading it, and viewing your other creations on your blog I now realise I have seen and admired your work before on Google when I have been searching for inspiration, but now I can put a name to you. I would love to have the Party Favor Patterns - my email is harleyandrose@hotmail.co.uk. Thank You so much! x

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    3. Hi Karen, I'm over the moon! Thank you SO much! I've just sent the party favors your way. Let me know if I've missed anything.
      Cecelia

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    4. Cecelia, thank you so much for the party favors - fantastic! Oh and thanks also for the snowflake grid xx

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    5. So happy to hear you're inspired Karen!

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  4. Cecelia....you continue to amaze me with what you can come up with using paper and your Silhouette. You're aren't just a 'crafter' but a trailblazer who was born at the right time to be able to use the humble (and centuries old) medium of paper and new printing technologies brought to life with the Silhouette.

    you are certainly on to something really unique
    Cheryl

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    1. Aw Cheryl, that's so sweet of you to say! {BLUSH!} I'm flattered you think that of me because many times I think I'm just procrastinating from doing chores!
      Cecelia

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