My name is Dr Margriet Dogterom and am the founder and owner of Beediverse. I write this blog for all who love bees and who want to learn more about these wonderful creatures.

Many mason bee keepers have spread the word about this exciting hobby through community groups or schools.  Here is a short note on how Environmental Youth Alliance in Vancouver, BC is making a difference.  Program manager Erin Udal writes :

“EYA’s pollinator outreach aims to teach people about native bees and become stewards in their own communities.

We have been working on initiatives for the past 7 years and are leaders in conservation programs and projects across Vancouver.

Each year we raise mason bee cocoons at our Insect Hotel, a large eco-converted telephone booth located at Oak Meadows Park.  We share the cocoons and give away mason bee houses with the community.

We host about 10 workshops each year at schools and community centers in the spring when mason bees are hatching and then in the fall when their cocoons are brought in to be cleaned. Youth love this opportunity to connect with nature in their own backyards, and become stewards themselves with a new mason bee house to look after!   We have photo permission to use this photo for our organization, so feel free to post! “

 

For more information about their work go to Environmental Yimg_3910outh Alliance

 

I added this fun picture because these ‘tubes look so much like nesting tubes’.  Instead they are yummie cookie straws. You can see the chocolate stripe around each cooky.

I was quite startled when I was waiting for my car to get an oil change and the owner went around just before Xmas with his jar of cookie straws.  After I picked one out of the jar, I thought “goodness they look like nesting tubes”.  I quickly took a photo before he vanished with the cookies.  We had quite a few people answer it correctly.  Thanks for participating.  tube-cookies

Here are my bee pictures, from August 2016, north of Dawson City, Yukon………with lots of views because I don’t know what characteristic one uses to identify bees (for beetles, it’s usually antennae and wing covers).-
Leslie C.img_2066c

img_2069c img_2070cThank you for emailing these lovely photos.  Puts a bit of colour on these pages while we are in the middle of lots of snow.  It is lovely to see bees on the under appreciated dandelion.  Dandelions are a very important food source for bees.  Dr. Margriet

Dr. Margriet:
Thanks for the great info today at the Courtenay Art Knapp mason bee workshop on how to properly raise and care for the mason bees.  I had mentioned that we were having trouble with fruit trees that were not producing fruit.  We automatically pointed fingers to the bees or lack of them.  I left one rather important set of facts out. Actually thought of it after the course.  In an attempt to try and understand the whole picture of what was going on, I purchased a soil testing kit and found that we were very depleted in Nitrogen and that the soil was slightly acidic. So I’m wondering if bees have less of an affinity for fruit trees that may be not as healthy or vibrant as they should be. With nature always favoring survival of the fittest could this have been a factor? In other words would they choose healthier plants/ trees over less healthier ones?  Again thanks for your time this morning, Gail & Howard P., Courtenay,B.C.

This is a real good questions and I don’t have a definite answer.  Here  is what I do know.  I do know that bees will search out flowers with an abundance of nectar and pollen.  This means that trees with flowers that produce high sugar content in the nectar are more likely to attract pollinators than the trees with low sugar production.  This is a fact.   I know as well that certain tree varieties will produce better quality nectar than others.  For example, if two trees that are located side by side produce their flowers at the same time, but one has higher sugar nectar, it is the one with the most sugar that will attract more bees and produce a larger fruit crop.   I do not know if adding fertilizer will change this fact.   My advise is to try it.  Thanks for the great question.  Dr. Margriet

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