Life and thoughts from a small-scale organic farm . . . and its farmers

This is a blog that explores ideas around the growing of food and community at Glen Valley Organic Farm.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

New Mason Bee Condos

Last week we welcomed Hartley and Brian from the Environmental Youth Alliance to the farm. They are running a native pollinators program with organic farms in the Lower Mainland. this includes a visit to each farm, doing an assessment of how the farm can better provide habitat to native pollinators and providing homes for mason bees and ground-nesting bees.

In the first photo, Hartley is assembling a mason bee housing frame. In the photo above, Brian is taping together trays for the mason bees to lay their eggs into.

A stack of trays, ready for placement.

After the housing frame was installed and the trays were in place, I got to place to mason bee cocoons behind. They placed one bee unit near our orchard and another unit in our fields.

Also part of the project is the building of nests for ground-nesting bees. Those aren't ready yet, but I'll post photos when we get them. Brian pointed out numerous, tiny holes in the ground where bees are nesting -- something I walk by and over every day without noticing!

Native bees are an important part of the diversity we have in our environment and a crucial part of the pollination puzzle we have on a farm. Honey bees are, by far, the most important pollinators for commercial crops, but they often overshadow the importance of native pollinators and their importance to many crops.

For more information about native pollinators, I recommend The Forgotten Pollinators by Stephen L. Buchmann and Gary Paul Nabhan.


  1. I'm happy to report that we've had big fat (native, I believe) bumblebees in our crawlspace for years now. They moved in sometime around when the girls came along and we love to see them buzzing, all fat, contented, black and yellow lazily through our flowers and flowering fruits. This is my favourite harbinger of summer, and one of the few reasons I don't mind leaving the yummy gray-tones of rainy winter behind.

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