Give a bee a home

By Matthew McCully

With people still in confinement and spending most of their time at home, it’s safe to say this year landscaping across the Townships will be on point this year. Among the many home projects people are working on, one Townshipper suggested adding bee houses to the list. Bees are, after all, the reason our flowers and gardens are so bountiful.
“About a third of the food we eat is dependent on bees pollinating,” explained Lennoxville resident and bee residence builder Phil Taylor. “It doesn’t cost anything,” Taylor said, explaining homes for solitary bees can be built with scrap pieces of wood. Taylor is not referring to honeybees, which live in hives (colonies). There are several types of bees buzzing around, and not all of them are known for their honey. Solitary bees, which often fly under the radar, are known as the unsung heroes of the pollinator world. Some of the most common are mason bees, leafcutter bees and miner bees.
Having them around offers a big boost to the local eco system. “Around two thirds don’t have nests to live in,” Taylor explained. They tend to look for small crevices and loose bark around trees to seek refuge when they need to rest. According to Taylor, making a suitable home for solitary bees is fairly simple. All it takes is a drill, a few scraps of wood and a piece of rope to hang the bee house somewhere. Not only does it support the pollinators, Taylor said if the bees have a safe home available, they will be less likely to look for a spot in or around your house.

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