Solitary bees and wasps in your own backyard!

Honey Bee Research & Extension Lab      


Step #3: Monitor Your Nest Site

         Congratulations! Your nest site is up and you are ready to start monitoring. Keep an eye on it, you may already have bees and wasps nesting in your sites! Here is how you can catch the buzz and upload those valuable data for us. Have fun, buzz-watchers! Once you have collected your data, just click the button to send your data to us!

Identify the Nesting Tunnel

           In order to tell if your nest is occupied look to see if the tunnel is capped off with nesting material. Common nesting materials include mud, grass, resin and leaves. It may take less than a day or more than a week for a bee or wasp to finish nesting in a site by capping the front with material.

         The two pictures on the left are typical examples of mud capping. However, the nesting material used in the same site will not always be the same, as you will likely have more than one species nesting in your site.

         Click the photo on the right to see more detail. The red circled holes are capped with mud, while the green circled holes are capped with grass.

Data Collection

         If you are ready to collect data on bee and wasp emergences, place a vial over the hole that was capped off by the nesting bee or wasp. This can be done by taking a vial cap and putting a hole in it to fit the hole that was nested in. Use a hammer and nails, push-pin or stapler to attach the lid to the block oriented so that the vial can snap back on to the attached lid.

         For bamboo or other types of straws you can use tape, foam or some other material to attach a vial around the front of the straw.

         To better organize your data, print out the Data Monitoring Form to download or hand draw your own. Cut out an individual label from the form. When you notice a hole has been nested in, fill out any fields you can and place the label inside the vial. When you notice a bee or wasp has emerged, fill out the rest of the label information. Or you can purchase waterproof labels and waterproof pen to record the data outside the vials as illustrated below.

Data Recording & Species Identification

Key Elements:

1) Date of nesting

The date that you discovered a bee or wasp nesting in the hole (Install a vial for capturing).

2) Date of emergence

The date that the bee or wasp came out of the hole into the vial.

3) Tube material

What material is the tube made of?

4) Nesting material

What material did the bee or wasp use to cap the hole?

5) Hole size

The size of the hole: small (1/8'' or 3.18mm),medium (3/16'' or 4.76mm), and large (3/8'' or 9.53mm). If you purchased your blocks from a commercial supplier, measure the inside diameter of the holes and record them as 'other'.

6) Height from ground

How high is this hole from the ground?

7) ID the species

The identification of the bee or wasp that you caught.

a. You can consult the resources from our 'ID Guides & Keys' some of the resources may require a microscope and technical knowledge.

b. You can submit a photo* to or a similar identification website, if you submit the photo to a third-party identification resource, please let us know and ask them to "tag" the photo as UFNB so we can search for the data.

c. You are welcome to consult us by sending us photos or overnight frozen preserved specimens during your data uploading. Upload pictures of the bee or wasp and we can try to identify them for you or we will submit them to an online resource to be identified.

*You can place the bee or wasp in the freezer for a short time (5-10 minutes) this will slow them down enough to take a picture of them without them dying or flying away.