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Gardening with kids Hotels Bee Teach kids about the

importance of pollinators in the garden by building your own bee hotel.

By Tania Moffat W

hat are Solitary Bees? Did you know that there are more than 20,000 species of

bees in the world, and that of those only seven species make honey? Of Canada’s 800 plus species of native bees 30 per cent have solitary nests. The importance of these bees and their role as pollina- tors is increasing in importance as the numbers of bumble bees and honey bees declines. With so much focus on bees why not create a project that will allow your children to watch and learn about some of these other important bee family members. Solitary bees, as well as some species

Your insect hotel can be as simple or complex as you want to make it.

of wasps, lay their eggs in small holes rather than a large nest site. In the wild they will use old beetle bores in wood, hollow stems and other cavities or the ground. They will however readily take to homes provided for them. Once they have selected a site they will

lay their

egg and fill the cavity with a supply of pollen and nectar before sealing it with a mud or leaf door. Eggs are generally laid between June and mid-September. Over the next several months the larva

hatch and eat their way through the food supply in the cell. They will then pupate until they are ready to break through the doorway and fly away the following year. How can you help?

You can assist these little garden help-

ers by providing them with artificial nest sites. Bee houses or hotels can be purchased from many garden centres and online. When purchasing a hotel be sure they offer enough protection from wet weather;

that the tubes have no Nests must be placed in a sunny location and sheltered from the rain by a roof. 28 • Summer 2016

splinters inside that may harm the bees; that the structure has a solid back wall; and that they are not made of glass or plastic which can cause mould growth. Bee houses attract only a few species of bees and wasps, and the occasional lady-

Photo by Emma Blowers

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