Did you know that there are more than 400 different types of wild bees in Ontario? And there are still more to discover! All of these bees have different jobs and are important for other wildlife species.
When you think about the bees around you, you probably think about the ones that make the delicious honey that you put on your peanut butter sandwiches. These are honeybees and they live in groups called colonies. Their job is to collect nectar from flowers for food. When they land on a flower to collect the nectar, they get covered in pollen, and when they land on the next flower this pollen brushes off – this process is called pollination and it is how a flower develops fruit with seeds.
Honeybees can carry their body weight in nectar back to the hive! When the honeybee returns to its home, the hive, it tells the other bees where it found the nectar source. They communicate the location of the flower by dancing in a figure 8 motion and wagging their bums in the direction of the flower, in relation to the sun. The length of time that they dance also tells the other bees how far away the flower is. This is called the waggle dance. Watch the video to see what it looks like! Can you tell someone where the nearest flower is by dancing?
Another type of bee is a mason bee. They are just as important as honeybees and they can do more pollinating than a honeybee or bumblebee! Mason bees are different from honeybees, they live alone and they don’t make honey.
|The Honeybee Conservancy|
The main job of a mason bee is to build nests and lay eggs. They will make their nests in hollow stems, insect holes, woodpecker holes – or anywhere they can find a tube-like cavity. They fill this cavity full of nectar and pollen, pollinating flowers as they go. Mason bees start foraging and laying their eggs in the spring, often making multiple nests from cavities.
|Mason Bee hatching from an egg!|
These bees like to make their nests close together, so one way you can help them is by building a bee hotel!
MAKE A BEE HOTEL!
Medium size can (recycled soup can will do)
2 empty toilet paper rolls
Sheets of paper (recycled newspaper works well)
Paint and decorations for the can (optional)
1. Paint the can if you wish, and let it dry.
|Pacific Beach Coalition|
2. Create the paper rolls:
a. Measure the length of the can and cut strips of paper the same length.
b. The goal is to make layers of rolls inside the can using the toilet paper rolls.
c. Roll the strips of paper around a pencil to get the right shape.
d. Tape the edge of the paper rolls so they stay in shape.
3. Put the paper rolls into the can:
a. Put a bit of glue around the inside of the can.
b. Place the toilet paper rolls where you want inside the can.
c. Fill up the space with the paper rolls.
4. Test your hotel by giving it a shake to make sure everything stays in place.
5. Find a spot for your bee hotel:
a. An open, sunny spot, that is not shaded by plants, but so it also won’t get rained on.
b. Should be 5ft from the ground.
c. Make it secure so that it doesn’t flap and blow in the wind.
6. Watch for mason bees nesting!
Three cheers for buzzing bees and rustling leaves! 🍁🍂🍃