Leaf cutter pheromones advice
I am interested in increasing the habitat and population of bees on the native bush in our property. Living in New Zealand there are plenty of wonderful plants that the leaf cutters are attracted to (Manuka, five finger). We bought one of those kits that are advertised on Facebook and it was relatively pricey and relatively underwhelming. There is obvious leaf cutter activity since we started but seems like not so much activity around the hive we bought (I'm guessing it might not have been in the best place and have read there can be high dispersal rate for them) and I was hoping with my DIY skills I could build some more of the boxes and set them out in and around the places where they are most likely to congregate to have a higher chance of maintaining and growing the species in my area.
I have a reusable bee tray it is 10 pieces of interlocking half circles that completes a circle when a new tray is placed on top. I plan to make more of these trays that match the existing one. My thought would be to take half the old trays and intersperse them with new trays so I could use the existing natural pheromones. This seems like the best chance of success.
Would I get a similar result per tray if I only had one of the old trays per new hive (as in 1 old pheromone tray and 9 new ones).
If I wanted to make a pheromone spray of my own how would I go about doing that. My thought is to dip one of the trays into a carrier oil of some description with perhaps some of the old cocoons. Also some of the sprays advertised are synthetic so wondering if I could use some sort of carrot top and alfalfa essential oil as an attractant.
Or the other option would be just to build new boxes and do nothing and hope I get lucky with solitary bees nesting there (they seem to be relatively prolific in the area).
I left the cocoons in the original nesting box for the whole winter. In the future I've read it's better to take them out and leave them in a special hatchery tube. So next year I would probably evenly distribute what cocoons I have between the new boxes. I was just worried about opening the case and having the cocoons break open.
Thanks for any advice or information you have.
Also any recommendations for the type of wood recommended for these project would be amazing!