Can I make a native bee box from Camphor laurel?
That questions comes up every now and then. Some say you can’t and some say you can, though I’m not sure if it’s just the usual third hand information spread on social media. It’s said that if bees come in to contact with the wood, the wood dust, the sap, the bees will die. Some say if the wood is dried out enough then it’s ok. There’s plenty of instances where native stingless bees build their colonies in the tree hollows, though some people suggest that those hollows may have a surface that doesn’t affect or repel the bees.
I grabbed some Camphor laurel slabs to try out. As far as I can tell these are reasonably dry. I captured some bees and placed them within a container so they were exposed the wood surface and dust. They walked all over the wood and through the dust for an hour until i released them, they didn’t seem bothered by the exposure.
When cutting the wood slabs up to reduce them to the right sizes to make a box the smell reminded me of a product used to clear the nose, called Vicks Vapourub or some kind of menthol. Apart from the smell the wood was nice to work with and is about the same weight as Hoop Pine.
I will leave the box for a while to further dry out and then will try a few tests like trapping bees within the box and see how react to it.
- Not resistant to borers or termites
- Durability in ground 10 – 25 years
- Info from here: https://www.woodsolutions.com.au/wood-species/laurel-camphor
- More info on the NSW DPI website: https://weeds.dpi.nsw.gov.au/Weeds/Details/28