We have discovered an aggregation (50+) of soil nesting solitary bees in the corner area of one of our raised vegetable beds (for leeks and onions). They are welcome inhabitants of our garden, but we are concerned about disturbing or harming their larvae when we are ready to harvest and prepare the bed this autumn / winter. Does anyone have experience of caring for these bees without sacrificing the whole area (12' x 5' by 1' deep)? Do they concentrate their nests close together or might they take over the whole bed?
If there are any alternatives for homing them (not just buying an expensive bee house) we would be grateful for any suggestions.
Are you sure they are solitary bees and not bumbles? If they are solitaries they have probably almost stopped flying by now and you could try removing the nest, as these bees do not sting.
Place them in a carboard box in a cool place, say a garage or cool shed,till Spring.Then you could put them out to emerge from their cocoons once the temperature has warned up and maybe provide a nesting box for them.
Much info is available for solitaries and how to make your own habitats. Such as giant hog weed stems and Japanese knotweed.
You could join the
"Campaign for solitary Bees" if you are on Facebook.There you will get lots of help from other soliatry bee friends.