There are quite a few different solitary bee species that like to nest above ground and their wild habitat would be holes in old logs or trees, probably made by another bug previously.
The females will create the next generation in these holes from April to August, first collecting a ball of pollen then sitting the egg on top of that before sealing it into a small chamber with mud and repeating until the hole is filled. The eggs will transform into a larvae and then spin a waterproof cocoon round itself and wait for spring time before emerging to start the new life-cycle.
If you want your solitary bee accommodation to be practical for bees as well as ornamental here are some features to consider:
- Holes should be at least 10cm deep (full length of a standard drill bit)
- Holes should be clean and smooth sided (bees cannot smooth away rough bits)
- Holes should range in diameter from 6mm to 9mm to attract different species.
- Can be made of canes, hollow stems or drilled in a solid block. Small cardboard tubes (can be bought online) are fine too.
To use your bee house, place it in a sunny, sheltered spot at least 1 metre off the ground. Clean any unused holes each year to get rid of spiders etc.