My name is Dr Margriet Dogterom and am the founder and owner of Beediverse. I write this blog for all who love bees and who want to learn more about these wonderful creatures.
|Yurts of all colours in the distance.|
These prairie yurts make pollination feasible since leafcutter bee nests are protected from the wind and rain. Temperatures inside the yurt are warm under windy conditions and on very hot days, excess heat escapes through the roof. It seemed that this structure moderated both cool and hot temperatures.
We saw two designs that consisted of a metal framework and surrounds of tarp.
The metal framework consisted of one inch square tubing, welded together into a Octagon.
|In this yurt, the roof consisted of 8 metal bars, bent to make a sloping roof. Note that the tubes leave an 8″ diameter hole in the roof.|
I found out later, that these very heavy structures were left in the field all year round. Of course the tarp was removed when nests were removed. Sometimes fields of alfalfa are burned with the metal part of the yurt still in the field. Because of their weight, you would need a good size truck and some kind of a lift to haul them onto the truck.
I thought this would be a good system for farmers who have heavy duty equipment, welding capabilities and large acreages to pollinate.
But a structure is needed so that small operators with a few thousand mason bees or more can be more successful in gardens and small orchards.
|The tarp was held onto the frame with plastic ties threaded through tarp grommets.|
Most of the leafcutter bees flew through the door opening, but a few, perhaps the disoriented bees, exited through the roof.
Even with a stiff breeze, it was nice and warm inside the yurt. Not too hot, like the plastic molded yurt.
Since that time, we have tried quite a few different designs using different materials. We do know that we are sticking to tarp material. Tarps work and are readily available. More on some of our designs in the next blog.
|The framework of this yurt consists of 8 pieces of metal. These are welded together using a center ring. There are 3 alfalfa leaf cutter bees visible flying through the roof -vent hole.|
|A plastic tie used to hold tarp to metal framework of the yurt adjacent to door.|
|This is a view through the front opening of the yurt showing styrofoam nests hung from the framework, and against the walls of the yurt. The wooden box just visible below the doorway horizontal bar, contained leafcutter bee cocoons. Most had emerged when we looked.|