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Mason Bees at the Resource Park

IMG_4153 - CopyThe Resource Park has signed on to be a location in the Pollinator Corridor Project, a joint initiative by Hives for Humanity and Homesteader’s Emporium to enhance the Hastings corridor with habitat and forage for Mason bees. By installing Mason bee houses and planting pollinator friendly flowers at various community gardens, non-profit organizations, and local businesses, the project aims not only to support pollinators in the area, but to connect and engage community members.

Sarah from Hives from Humanity came by this week to help us install our Mason bee home. Here are a few fun facts we learned about Mason bees:

Mason bees are solitaIMG_4136 - Copyry bees. While they live close to one another, the females prepare their own individual nesting sites to lay their eggs.

In nature, Mason bees look for tubular cavities in which to lay their eggs. Providing artificial paper or wooden tubes is a way to help increase available nesting sites in urban areas for Mason bees.IMG_4155 - Copy

Inside the tubes, mason bees compartmentalize individually laid eggs (and pollen for food storage) by sealing them in with mud walls. A female will selectively lay females near the back of the tube, and males near the front of the tube who emerge first in the springtime.

 

IMG_4157 - CopyOur Mason bee house has twenty potential nesting sites, lined with replaceable paper tubes. We chose a sheltered and south-facing spot for the house, since the bees need sunshine to rise and start their day of foraging. We put some hibernating bees in cocoons into the “attic” of the house, and as the temperature warms up they will start to emerge and mate. They are early spring Mason bees and will be actively pollinating and laying eggs over the next couple months of spring. By summer, the adult bees die, leaving behind the next generation to develop inside the tubular homes. In the fall, the cocoons will be ready to retrieve, and the paper nests will be replaced with new ones for the next season.

We were also given some bee-friendly flower seeds to plant, provided by West Coast Seeds. These included Calendula, Nigella, Zinnia, and Poppies, among others.

Stay tuned for a walking tour map of all the Mason bee home installations that are a part of this project. Community members and visitors alike will be able to walk through the neighbourhood and find where all the houses are located, discovering and connecting with different gardens, organizations, and businesses along the way.