Jun 11th. 2015

Welcome Home!

The new Kings Cross Swimming Pond is now open for the summer, the UK’s first ever man-made fresh water bathing pond right in the centre of the Kings Cross development site. Just behind it you may notice some quirky looking structures going up and a couple of skips….

The Skip Garden has finally moved into its new home and what a great site it is. The Honey Club wanted to celebrate the bees new home, so we invited a few Honey Club members and friends to share some stories, news, ideas and some delicious food and wine.

IMG_0126

The Bartlett School of Architecture have been working on the design for the new buildings in the garden, a bee hive gramophone for one! The structures weren’t quite finished when we had the event, but we were really lucky to see the work in progress and cant wait to see the finished result.

IMG_0170

IMG_0139

IMG_0137

IMG_0130

We held a bee hotel workshop for the generators and some of the young guests, this started out with six of us using small hacksaws to chop green bamboo – kindly donated by Des Smith, at Willerby Landscapes – into 15cm tubes without any nodules. This was quite time consuming! There’s certainly a knack to it.

Making bee hotels provides space for cavity-nesting solitary bees, like the Red Mason bee, (Osmia bicornis)  and Leaf-cutter bees (Megachile centuncularis) to nest in. They are called solitary bees because they make individual nest cells for their larvae. In the UK, there are more than 200 different species of solitary bee. These wild bees are docile and safe around children and pets. Like all species of bees, they are important pollinators so we want to increase habitat and forage for them in King’s Cross, starting at the Skip Garden.

IMG_0127

IMG_0129

How to Make a Bee Hotel:

Materials

Bundles of hollow bamboo – different species of solitary bees need holes from 4-10mm.

2litre plastic bottles with the tops cut off

Hacksaw

Scalpel

Twine

Instructions

1.     Use the hacksaw to cut the bamboo into aprox 15cm pieces, you want the lengths of the bamboo to be a few cm shorter than the bottle to protect them from the rain. Bees can’t burrow through the knots in bamboo so cut in between the nodules (knots). Make sure one end of the bamboo is open. The other could be closed off by the knot.

2.     Use sandpaper to smooth the ends of the bamboo as bees are put off by sharp edges.

3.     Use the scalpel to make two small holes in the plastic bottle and thread twine through so will be able to hang up the finished hotel.

4.     Carefully pack the bottles tightly with the bamboo tubes – the open end facing out.

5.     Attach firmly to an open sunny wall, at least 1 metre off the ground, protected from rain and wind. (Bees won’t use it if it’s swinging around or the entrance is blocked by an overhanging tree or dappled light)

6.     Wait for solitary bees to find it and start laying their eggs in the tubes. You know it’s been used when tubes are sealed with mud or chewed leaves.

7.     Next spring, look to see if new bees are emerging.

 


Olivia Saponaro, Wolff Olins

Alison Benjamin, Urban Bees