Some are extinct already.
This is a NEW method to make bee habitat.
Colony collapse disorder is hard to blame when most bees are solitary!
Thats right, most types of bees live alone.
One big reason that they are disappearing is habitat loss.
This instructable suggests ways to provide solitary bees with brood space and overnight shelter in an attempt to replace some of that lost habitat. So far it is working much better than I expected.
Step 1: Cob and rods and stems and things
I show a couple of the blocks here.
It worked and there are at least 4 types of bees living in the block.
I recently discovered that solitary bees burrow inside old raspberry canes!
So one really easy thing you can do to help the bees is to bundle up old raspberry canes and leave the bundle in a dry south facing location. I am sure the bees will find them, burrow into some and leave some bee babies to hatch out next spring.
Step 2: Cob and bars and stems
Anything hollow or with a pithy middle.
Step 3: Shelter, brood and success!
Step 4: Links Other people make bee habitat too!
And another is in English http://www.foxleas.com/bee_house.htm
http://resonatingbodies.wordpress.com/ seems to be artists and scientists coming together to make beautiful bee habitat.
http://www.flickr.com/groups/1407357@N20/ is pictures of home made bee and wasp houses.
Don't be afraid of solitary wasps, they rarely sting, "she who runs away, can lay an egg tomorrow" and all that. Its the sterile frustrated social wasps and bees that cannot lay eggs that do most of the stinging.
You can just bundle teasel stems, or raspberry canes or any hollow stem or reed and produce bee habitat. http://www.permies.com/permaculture-forums/520_0/critter-care/orachard-mason-bees Dave from Camas, Washington has been bundling teasel stems for several years and some of his pics are at the link above. And they work!
http://www.cirrusimage.com/hymenoptera.htm Bees wasps and ants of north America
It should be noted that wasps, even Yellow Jackets perform pollination. I have seen them work hard on dill. Those yellow jackets also spend a lot of time eating aphids and caterpillars on trees. So in the ecosystem, they are an important part of the puzzle.
Here is a nice link to the solitary bees of the UK http://www.moraybeekeepers.co.uk/solitary_bees.htm
A guy in Toronto has just identified 19 NEW species of bee. Which means 19 more species of bees to save! (I think the thing in their picture is a hoverfly, it is hard to see but bees have 4 wings and a long tongue). The link is here http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010/09/new-bee-species-discovered-during-downtown-toronto-commute.php
Step 5: One year later!
I had hoped to post pictures a week or 2 ago but the shutter broke on my camera and everything was over exposed. New camera now but no dates on the pictures. The cob bee blocks were very successful. Almost all the holes were filled, mostly in the spring of the second year. The bee vase seens less successful but I know that bees are still using it regularly. They have burrowed into the raspberry stems, vine stems and dill weed. Some have also used the cob holes.