Bee Hotels Attract Pollinators

Here’s another way urbanites can give nature an assist, bee hotels. From Almanac we learn about native, solitary bees.

Unlike honey bees, these solitary bees are extremely docile and up to three times more effective as pollinators. No, you won’t get any honey, but you will enjoy better flowers, thriving plants, and healthier vegetables in your garden!

Some of the most common solitary bees are mason bees, leafcutter bees, and miner bees. Many of these native bees are already a part of the local ecosystem, but providing them with a perfect place to nest in your backyard can improve their lives and yours.

(I think I’ve seen these guys, all alone, bumping about.) This hotel was spotted between sidewalk and curb in the Brown University area. But there is more to helping solitary bees reproduce than just nailing this cool-looking object to a tree. Hole size and hotel orientation are pivotal. Owners must help the developing bee larvae get through the winter and then harvest cocoons in the spring.

The article has useful tips, links, and photographs. (I’m not sure how this system could possibly lead to “healthier vegetables” or even what they meant by that.)

A quick search turned up many prefab models as well as instructions for DIYers.

And remember: no honey.

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