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Bumblebee Houses and Habitat

Creating a bee-friendly environment is the best way to protect and support native bees, including bumblebees whose populations are declining. Many gardeners are lending a helping hand by creating natural nesting spaces or installing bumblebee nesting boxes.

Bumblebees nest in abandoned animal burrows, grass tussocks, under rocks or in the hollows of trees. Consider lending a hand when these natural nesting sites are unavailable. Dig a 1/4 to 1/8 cubic foot hole, line it with grass, moss or wool and cover with a flat rock or paver.

Or build a wooden nest box of the same size to use where digging in the ground is not possible. Pennsylvania State University publication Man Made Bee Nests provides plans and tips for keeping bees safe when building bee nest boxes.

A bit more information: An upturned flowerpot can also provide a suitable home for bumblebees. Visit the bumblebeeconservation.org for step-by-step details on creating your own.  The nesting box must be the right size and shape for the bees you are trying to attract. Be sure to clean permanent nesting boxes according to specification to keep the bees healthy.

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