Thanks to all of you who came out to visit us last weekend at the vancouver farmers market, despite the nasty wet rain. Also a huge thank you to all the generous the donations to richmond schoolyard society. Here are a few tips and tidbits for all you new bee home owners. Get building and pollinating you awesome urban gardeners!
This is the kit you took home, which was labled for front, back and side in terms of assemblage, along with pre-drilled holes, care of the hard workin boys at aloe. They had fun deconstructing old pallets and turning them into these off-cuts. All you need now are some nails, a hammer and elbow grease.
And voila- you've got these bad boys to hang up. You are going to want to hang this guy on a south or east wall as the bees preffer this exposure. And if there is an undercover or overhang- even better.
We also included a sample cardboard tube. This is the ideal size (diameter and length)- especially for the female bees. You can either buy a pack of these at Westcoastseeds, or better yet you can make some yourself. Seeing as you dispose of them anyways each year (after the bees have done their thing), why not go with the reclaimed theme, and dig out the saturday globe, or whole foods bag and roll some tubes yourself. It is an easy craft to get kiddos involved in too. About 20 tubes in these homes will do the trick.
And here are some examples of our friendly bees.
As promised a few fun facts about mason bees:
- Mason bees are solitary. There is only one bee per nest, not thousands.
- Hence they do not swarm and rarely sting.
- They are native to North America whereas honeybees are not.
- They are early spring bees & emerge about the time cherries bloom.
- They gather pollen and carry it dry on their hairy abdomen, making it easy to transfer during flight which = more pollinating flowers.
- Roughly 1 female mason bee pollinates an equivalent to 100 honey bees.
- The females do the majority of the work. (Isn't that true sister!)
- They use holes in wood or nesting tubes for egg laying.
- They are low maintenance, require only a small house with a VERY low start up cost!
- They are a dying breed and an integral part in keeping our cities green and lush and productive with urban veg gardens.
- Life span of 6-8 weeks.
The life cycle of the mason bee is seriously beyond fascinating. For more info on this and more geeky bee facts check out this resource.
Look at this happy camper... Despite the rain and the solitude that-is-Mr Owen, he was a great sport. The kids adored him and everyone seemed to love his craftsmanship.
Our last farmers market workshop is this saturday at Trout Lake from 9-2. We will be teaching families how to get your tomato and veg seedlings off to a good start by planting them in recycled cans and such. Kids can stope by and decorate their tins with crayons, paper, and glue, and learn how to transfer these delicate starts into the garden when the plants are ready to grow wild.