How to Design Your Pollinator Condo
The camp will provide a rigid structure for the winning design. The structure will be about 6 inches off the ground (to provide good drainage and ventilation) and will have vertical and horizontal supports so the condo will not collapse in rain or wind. Although we have the basic supporting structure in mind, we may be able to alter it in small ways to accommodate the winning design. As an example, horizontal shelves can be added to support nesting blocks. Large departures from the basic parameters will not be considered.
1. The top height of the pollinator structure must be at least four feet above the ground, but no higher than six feet. This is to ensure that the structure is high enough to be seen, but low enough to minimize the risk of toppling.
2. The pollinator structure must be designed to be a permanent, integrated structure. The design should ensure that the structure will tolerate wind, rain, and snow to the extent possible. To achieve this, the structure must be designed with a frame, or integrated or otherwise connected together, so that it can be placed and fastened to a frame and foundation.
3. The structure should be designed so it is slightly elevated off of the ground. A low tabletop-like frame can be provided at time of construction; allow at least six inches of height for this. Exceptions will be made for nests that should be placed underground, such as bumble bee nests.
4. To ensure stability, a width (face of the structure) to depth (distance from front of the structure to the back) should be a minimum of 2:1. For example if the structure is six feet wide, it should be at least three feet deep.
The site we have chosen for the pollinator condo is near the center of camp but away from the main walking areas. It will be clearly visible but tucked beneath the trees where the insects will feel comfortable and where they will not be exposed to hot afternoon sun. In front of the condo will be the newly designed butterfly garden, planted with native forage pleasing to all kinds of pollinators.
Once you decide how your condo will fit together, you can design the bug living spaces any way you like. Here are some things to consider:
• You want as many nesting spaces as possible. Larger spaces can be divided into smaller spaces (like rooms) if you wish. Each room will be filled with “furniture” in the form of nesting materials. You can follow this link for suggested nesting materials.
• Rigid supports within the structure can be made from materials like bricks, concrete blocks, landscape timbers, roofing tiles, flower pots, or lumber.
• Rooms with larger openings should be lower to the ground than rooms with smaller openings.
• The condo should have some sort of roof to keep most of the rain out
• If you decide to add bumble bee nests, they can be buried beneath the ground with tubes connecting them to the surface.
• Tunnels for nesting bees need to be disposable after one year (this includes hollow reeds and canes) or be lined with paper tubes (this includes all tunnels drilled in wooden blocks.) This requirement is meant to lessen the possibility of disease organisms building up over time.
• Northwest native plants may be incorporated into the design if you wish.
• Artwork commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Girl Scouts may also be incorporated if you wish.
Study the photos of other habitat structures to get an idea of how all the basic materials can come together to form a beautiful and useful Pollinator Condo.