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Field shelters

An organic apple orchard is a great place for mason bees.  No worry about pesticide applications.
When we arrived, we noticed that dandelions were out, but apple blossoms were still closed.  The perfect time to set up the bees so they can emerge and gt ready for pollinating the fruit trees.  It was a very cold rainy day when we set this up a couple of weeks ago.  Brrrrr!!
We arrived at the orchard with the top of the yurt and the base-hexagon pieced together.  Both hexagons were marked out to indicate where  the vertical uprights had to placed and screwed to make the frame.  
This is important, since the spacing of the uprights maximizes the number of Highrises that can be placed at one level.  Nine Highrises can be set at each level.  There is enough height in the yurt for 4 levels.  We started with 3 uprights balancing the base and the roof, and added the remaining uprights soon after.
We then dug some dirt to cover the base of the tarp.  This prevents wind from getting into the yurt and creating a draft.
We finished the yurt by stapling the tarp around the yurt.
Tim has just finished using 4 screws to hold each upright in place,
2 at the top and two at the base.   I attached the tarp with staples
to the upper and lower hexagon and then covered the tarp at the base with dirt.

Completed Yurt.  You can see that the wind is pushing
 the tarp against the uprights.

We left the hole we created so that bees could easily get mud for making
their nest partitions.

You can now make your own Beediverse Yurt with the hexagon roof and top.  It is a great design. We have 5 roof units available.  Other items like uprights, screws, hooks and ties are available at any hardware store. 
click here for yurt-roof product on Beediverse web site

We offer the roof unit as a product with full instructions and material needed to complete the yurt.

Fully assembled yurt roof is available as a  product.



Partially assembled Yurt.  With the fully assembled roof
and base hexagon assembly starts with attaching
 the first 3 uprights  to roof and base.



Fully assembled Yurt

Here is a good design of a Field Shelter.  It is constructed with one post and two supporting posts at the front.  Plywood is attached to the post and mason bee homes are attached to the back wall.  It creates a warm environment and it is out of the wind.

Margriet,

I phoned you a few weeks ago to ask about where to place our new bee house.  You suggested a location that faces east and gets morning sun, and then added that putting a shelter around the house to keep off rain and wind would be a good idea.  Finally, you asked that if I built such a shelter, I should send you some photos. 

The photos are attached.  The shelter faces east in a place where it should get morning sun, and it’s stained a dark brown to absorb heat.  It’s about 60 meters away from the apple tree we are hoping the bees will pollinate.  I hope that’s not too far.  The bees may find flowers and other plants closer by and never make it to the apple tree.  But we’ll keep our fingers crossed.

Don N.   Germantown Hills, IL
  Hi Don,

Thank you for sharing your photos and story.  I think the shelter will work very nicely.  No, I dont think 60 yards is too far away from the orchard.  But, if you do find that pollination did not improve, set up your shelter closer to your orchard.  Margriet

This is where the shlelter is located.  East facing,

with trees as added wind protection.




Don’s shelter holds one Royal mason bee home with
Quicklock corn nesting trays.  Above the Royal, there
are two sturdy Emergence Shelters
with cocoons- waiting for warmer weather.



This is the same shelter as above, showing more of the structure.



Here are John’s photos of his very economical set up for mason bees.  It protects bees from chilling spring winds, and provides extra warmth to mason bee nests.  The full length tarp that goes to the ground keeps the wind out.  To keep all the wind out from entering the base of the structure, cover bottom of  tarp with mulch or some soil.

Advantages over the Beediverse Yurt is that with John’s field shelter you don’t have to deal with fitting a tarp over a hexagon roof with a hole it it.  It is not easy.  The field shelter’s roof is simply a piece of plywood.  John’s mason bee field shelter is very economical. 
Both the yurt and John’s field shelter release excess heat.  The yurt has an 8″ diameter hole in the center of the roof which lets out excess heat, but keeps it nice an cozy for the bees.  The gap between the tarp and roof releases excess heat from John’s shelter.  Shortly, I will be placing the yurt onto our web site for gardeners who would like to try the Beediverse yurt.

Here is John’s list of Materials  and instructions:
   1-9×12 tarp – blue
   6 – lath strips or equivalent
   1-42x72x1/2 or better plywood for back side
   1-42x48x3/8 plywood, primed one side for roof
   4-2×2 or 2×3 x96 posts- for vertical support
   4 or 6 ell brackets for shelf support
  
   Drive posts into earth at 42 inch intervals, attach back plate on north side, then roof with overhang. Provide bracing with lath at 45 degree angle for wind. Keep front posts 6 inches higher than back to run rain.
   Wrap with tarp leaving 6 inch opening at the front[south]. Use 1 1/2 in. screws at grommet holes for ease of attachment and removal. Attach ell brackets for shelf support as required.
   Now your bees will much warmer and so much busier.

  

John starts off with setting 4 sturdy posts into the ground. 
Then secures a 1/4 ” sheet of slightly slanting plywood onto the 4 posts. 
Between 2 posts, he attaches – with screws a 1/2 sheet of plywood. 
He attaches shelving to the plywood and the two posts. 
Nests are set onto shelves.
Here is a closer look at the shelving. 
On the right hand side are routered wooden nests. 
On the left are boxes with angled 1″ wide slats with
Quicklock trays inside the box.
Blue shelter complete. 
Once nests are in place with bees are set out in emerging boxes,
tarp is wrapped around all 4 sides- leaving a gap of at least 8″
between roof (1/4 sheet of plywood) and the top of the tarp. 
Note wood slats are stapled over tarp  and onto posts to keep them place.

  

This is the second version with a  cross piece
that helps stabilize the structure.


 



I also chatted with John from Delta.  He has been doing mason bees for quite a few years now and he is a true experimenter.  Every year he comes up with ideas that he tries out.  On my visit this time, he told me that for the first time last year he was able to beat the wind.  He has a very cold wind coming off the sea in the early spring.  He had seen the various yurt design and found them too complex. I saw his design, and I think it is a good one.  It is simple and anyone can set it up.  Last year it worked well.  It works similarly like a yurt, but you do not have a hole in the hexagonal roof.  More on this subject when John sends me his pictures and a story.
Aan update- we could not figure out what to call this structure at first.  A Mason Bee Field Shelter describes it nicely.

If any one has  story to share, send me pictures and a story about bees and pollination-  Thanks.  I think a lot of people will enjoy reading it.  On average, 70 pages are read on this blog every day.  Quite amazing.

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