Paul Navrot provided a class at Milagro Community Garden on native pollinators and here is a summary and some of the tools. This is the information that he put together and you can contact him below at his website.
The Native Bees Class on Sunday, May 20th included a discussion focused on the cultivation of non-honey producing, North American bees. These non-aggressive pollinators serve an important ecological function in agricultural practices of all scales that incorporate crops not dependent on wind-pollination. Gardeners, or anyone interested in supporting, cultivating, and observing these crucial roles in the ecosystem can rear mason and leaf-cutter type bees by building habitat. Adult bees rear larvae in nests created using mud or vegetation – mason and leaf-cutter types respectively, in bored holes that are found in tree trunks. A gardener can imitate this habitat by drilling horizontal, or slightly downward holes in dead wood that receives morning sun and is protected from rain and snow. A paper lining or cardboard tube inserted into this cavity can allow the harvesting of young in the event of incomplete emergence the following year. Special attention should be given to integrate a diversity of flowering plants, particularly natives, in garden compositions for sources of nectar and pollen. Included as part of this class was actual construction where the class built and installed a bee-brooder-post at the Milagro Community Garden. Employing basic carpentry, the class quickly transformed two pieces of untreated ‘two-by-four’ into a bee brooder that is capable of rearing hundreds of mason and leaf-cutter type bees. The brooder-post serves as highly conspicuous place where people can observe the life processes of pollinators while they assist in the fruit and seed setting of crops in nearby gardens.
Published resources for more information regarding native bees …
“Bee Basics: An Introduction to Our Native Bees,” by Dr. Beatriz Moisset, and Dr. Stephen Buchmann.
Penn State Extension, “Wild Bees as Alternative Pollinators”
This Template will help you drill holes for your bees- drilling template
Pablo Navrot’s website/ garden journal