Saturday, March 28, 2015

Busy Like A Bumble Bee!

The last few days have been pretty busy. While there have been some significant changes with my garden that I am excited to share with everyone, like a modern Florence Nightingale, I have been busy attending to my sick girlfriend. As well, on Thursday night, I went to a free bee nest building class. This left me little time to write a post and I am happy to sit back down to update you on my projects.

The bee nest building class was offered by Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington. About a week ago, they posted a twitter message saying that they were hosting a free class and it was open to anyone on a first come first serve basis. It was pretty easy to sign up. I just sent a email, which was quickly responded to and confirmed my registration. The class ran from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm and while I haven't really built anything since shop class in elementary school, I was pretty excited to get out and build the nest. I arrived at the RBG, found the room where the class was being held, signed in and found this lovely little package waiting for me!
Everything you need to build a nest, except a hammer!
Once everyone got settled, the course instructors explained the materials that were in front of us and explained why building a bee nest is so vitally important to helping the local environment. Over the past few years, the bee population has been steadily declining. Bees are exceedingly important as they are pollinators and make flowers, fruits and vegetables grow. With a lack of bees it becomes harder to grow things, which it turns makes it harder to feed our growing population. Having a bee nest in your backyard provides the over 400 different species of bees that live in Ontario a place to lay their eggs which helps to support our bee population. 

As an amateur gardener and someone who hopes to keep honey bees in the future, helping the bee population is something that I think is important and part of our due diligence as co-inhabitants of the earth. 

Once we got down to building the nest, it actually was really quite simple. It really doesn't take much time or material. In fact the instructors noted that recently 1 foot cut offs from a building project had been donated and turned into 60 bee nests. Along with the wood was a pile of nails, screw in eye hooks, sand paper and a list of instructions. 

The first thing I did was sort the wood and sand down all the rough edges. 

Sandpapered wood!
Then I started to build the roof. I found the two biggest pieces, figured out how they best fit together and then nailed 4 nails into one of the pieces.


Next I lined up the two pieces of the roof and nailed them together.
I'd rather be a hammer than a nail!
This is what my finished roof looked like!
Not too shabby!

It's actually pretty straight!

From here I attached the back of the nest box onto the back of the roof.
Starting to take shape!

Then I need to put on the bottom of the nest in order to make a nice diamond shaped nest box.
Only one more side left!

So this last side is maybe not so straight.
Once I had my box completed the last part of the construction process is next as you add your eye hooks to the top of the box with my completed box looking like this.
Ain't she purdy!
The only thing left to do now is to stuff the box with nesting materials for the bees! My instructors informed us that bees like to lay eggs in thin hollow reed like branches or grasses. If they lay eggs in my nest, the bees will start laying at the back of the box, moving forward and laying eggs along the length of the reeds. Each egg will be separate from the other eggs and when the reed is full the bee will cap it with mud and happily, but perhaps tiredly, fly away.

Look at the bee BOX!

The instructors suggested that we hang them up in our backyard pretty much now as we are finally entering the spring season. They said to make sure that the nest doesn't have the opportunity to move too much as it might dislodge a reed full of eggs, to have the nest face east so the bees are warmed early in the morning and to make sure that there are sources of food and water for when the bees hatch. They advised us to plant local flower varieties close to the nest and to have a little muddy area with some water and rocks so the bees could have a place to sit and drink.

While I was at class I also had the pleasure to meet two wonderful new friends. I have previously had the opportunity to converse with one of them through twitter before the class and I knew they were attending so I was pretty happy to meet them. They were both friendly, gracious and amazingly fun to talk to and I hope I get to see them again in the future. 

Needless to say I am thrilled about the outcome of my bees nest and today I went to Home Depot and bought some wire to hang it up with. I plan on hanging it tomorrow morning and I will take a picture to let you know how she looks!

No comments:

Post a Comment