10. Insect House

This insect house is intended to serve as a nesting site for solitary wild bees, wasps and other insects. While most people are familiar with the non-native, commercial honey bee, few people realize that most of the native bees in the United States are solitary ones. Likewise, the majority of wasp species are solitary nesters that require dry, hollow stems or holes in wood in order to raise their offspring.

Bees and wasps play an important role as pollinators. Wasps are also predators of other insects. Many species of plants depend on them in order to produce fruit and seeds. During the spring and summer wasp sand bees will build chambers inside hollow stems and fill them with a food supply for their larvae. The food supply could be honey as is the case for most bees, or insects for most wasps. Once a chamber is stocked with food, an egg is laid inside. The chamber is then sealed to allow the egg to hatch and larvae to develop. Eventually, a mature wasp or bee will emerge from the chamber.

This project was funded by the Lowcountry Master Naturalists Association. The construction and arrangement of the nesting areas were completed by Master Naturalist and Coastal Discovery Museum volunteers.