|Pollinator Tower is designed to be attractive housing for a variety of small native bees, beetles and other arthropods...|
I am thrilled that you're here to see how it was constructed and I hope you build one for your garden, community center or school. Please share your designs and what you've observed with all of us in the gardening community, so that we can continue to understand and help our native bees and other pollinators.
It really is always the right time to think about pollinators!
|small bees like this carpenter bee might move in|
I hope the instructions and photos are clear and that you will soon be creating your own habitat.
After looking at dozens of marvelous and creative pollinator habitat designs I decided the simplest design was one that used stacked pallets. They were easy to come by and required absolutely no skills except stacking them so they would not topple over in the wind or snow. I got mine free from a local garden center. But don't take just any, make sure you find ones stamped HT, that means they were heat treated not shot full of preservatives that could poison pollinators or you!
I wanted this project to be simple to make, easy to reproduce and with easily located materials,. All the materials used were purchased at a home center or recycled from found materials.
|I situated the habitat in a semi-sunny spot away from the main garden, but, close enough for pollinators|
I liked it, but it lacked a certain pizazz. Even when I began filing the spaces with pollinator habitat materials it still looked dull.
It really needed a roof!
|roof center board is secured with shims and braces|
|sample sandwich board roof and center board|
Not bad looking...
Now, here comes the fun part~hanging the shingles!
Shingling is not difficult when you're standing on the ground and don't care if it's not perfect. Just do an internet search and get the basics from one of the excellent videos that's available. I especially liked this one from Fine Gardening.
|I glued the shingles to the roof and held them in place with staples while they dried.|
Shingling is a bottom up project!
The fat edge of the shingles are the bottoms!
When laying the shingles make sure the seams don't line up, this protects the roof from leaking.
I tried many combinations of shingles to avoid having to cut them to size.
Construction adhesive is marvelous and easier to use than trying to nail into an attached sandwich board roof!
A few staples will hold the shingles in place so the glue can dry.
|Every roof needs a ridge cap to cover the joint at the top|
You will need to make a ridge cap to cover the gap between the two sides of the roof.
You can make a fancy over sized ridge cap that does double duty as a ridge cap and the last course of shingles.
You can do what I did, shingle all the way and ask someone comfortable with a power saw to cut off the overhang and then...
|secured with clear silicon sealant|
All that's left to do is finish filling the habitat with pollinator friendly materials.
Now go forth and have fun building your own Pollinator Condo!
PS It bears repeating, if you want pollinators in your garden, you must never, ever, ever, ever use pesticides and think about adding a bee block or condo!
2 or 3 pallets~Make sure they are stamped with HT (heat treatment not formaldehyde) each cut into two equal pieces 23"x 48" (approximately, pallets are not square, straight or uniform)
concrete blocks, paver stones and/or brick(I had all on hand)
1 sheet 4'x4' exterior plywood cut into 2 20"x40" pieces for the roof ($13)
4 small door/cabinet hinges and wood screws
1- 24"x20" piece of exterior plywood for the center board
2-2"x2" boards 24" long to brace the center board.
1 bundle of cedar shingles (not top grade) ($25)
2 tubes of construction adhesive ($5)
1 tube of silicon (on hand)
caulking gun (on hand)
one relatively straight limb for roof ridge and Bur Oak acorn cup
Power circular saw
pry bar to remove nails on the pallets
Helpful husband, wife, bf, gf or partner to do the heavy cutting
POLLINATOR ATTRACTIVE MATERIALS:
Wood with different sized holes for cavity nesters
bundles of hollow or pithy stems, paper straws
stacked tree limbs with bark
leaves and straw
left over cedar shingles for critters that like to hide
*Bobbie Peachey lady bug clip art
Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone. She reminds all that the words and images are the property of the author and cannot be used without written permission.