TO Bees

We are excited about hosting a wild bee nesting box in our new garden as a part of a study on wild bee populations in urban habitats that is being conducted by Scott McIvor through the Packer Collection (PCYU) at York University. You can see how the nestboxes are constructed here.

We can’t wait to see if any bees take up residence in the little paper cells. In his enthusiasm, Davin started checking hours after the PVC box was installed. Needless to say there are no bees yet but I did see one resting on our compost bin and another came out of a hole in the ground as I was digging up sod. We are also curious to see how general insect populations change as we introduce more diversity to what is currently a plantless yard.

Scott is also tracking cavity nesting bee populations on green roofs. If you have a green roof and would like to be involved you can get in touch via TO Bees.

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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11 thoughts on “TO Bees

  1. Well, not really *plantless*, grasses are plants. Just because they’re non-vascular doesn’t mean they don’t count. Hehe, I’m being plantist, I know what you mean.

    I’m sure your yard will explode with awesome insectitude as the flowers and other levels of ecosystem diversity appear. I encountered my first huge Carabid beetle of the season last night while walking the dog -it made me so happy I actually burst out with glee when I first noticed it. I had to pick it up and give it cuddles for a few moments.

  2. I’ve had orchard mason bees for years and they are such wonderful pollinators. They are solitary bees and use tubes or holes drilled in wood. Now there are stacked trays one can use that can be opened and cleaned (made by Bee Diverse). These trays are superior and the way to go to ensure that your bees don’t get mites or parasites. I love hosting the bees in my garden. I’ll be curious to see how yours do!

  3. Just installed two separate honeybee colonies in my backyard and I’m not sure what I’m more excited about, helping honeybees with their comeback, the amazing pollination they are going to provide my vegetable garden and apple trees, or the honey I get once they’ve filled up three boxes for themselves. Either way, honeybees are amazing and the more I read from The Backyard Beekeeper, and every other book I can get my hands on, the more I am fascinated with them. Here’s to the bees, long may pollinate and prosper!

  4. When we move back to the states at the end of the year, the plan is to buy a farm. We definitely want an orchard, however small or large and know that bees are big part of having a happy one. Great info!

  5. Hi Gayla,
    I agree with the commenters above that you will likely see a great increase in insect life as you replace lawn with plants that need pollinators. My east TO garden now has no lawn left, and it’s amazing to see the many bee species there every day in the growing season. Over time, I notice that certain species prefer particular flowers, for example I had a caryopteris that attracted a species of bumblebee that I never see otherwise. All the best with it.

  6. There is a movie coming out in the NH/Maine area called “Queen of The Sun: What are The Bees Telling Us?” It’s a documentary and maybe you can see if it is playing in your area.

  7. We found that when we pulled up the lawn (well moss) to replant the grass that we invited a massive colony of tawny mining bees in. Its been wonderful, they don’t sting and the pollinate like the dickens. Don’t forget to talk to them!

  8. I was thinking of installing a wooden bee nester to hang from a tree but I’m a bit worried I’m going to get a swarm of bees there. How do I know the bees won’t be aggressive?

  9. Great post! I recently watched a movie called Vanishing of the Bees. I have wanted bees for a few years now and now my hubby is on board after watching the movie!

  10. I am thinking about investing into a honey bee farm, once I get my seasonal job that should help me fund my farm. Does anyone know of where I could buy the housing for the bees? Thanks.

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