Bees play an extremely important role in our ecosystem; they are responsible for roughly one third of all the food we eat through pollination. On top of their vital role of pollinating our crops, they also pollinate flowers and trees and help ecosystems stay stable, thriving, and healthy. We once thought honeybees were the largest pollination contributors, but we have learned that is not the case. All bee species are important for our ecosystems.
Not everyone is a fan of bees or wants to go through the effort of keeping them, whether due to space limitations, bylaws, or not wanting a hive around their pets or children. That is where providing homes for solitary bee species can come in very helpful. When it comes to solitary bees, there are over 200 species; they are non-aggressive because they do not produce honey, and they live “alone” so swarm behavior is not a concern. In truth they do not live alone, they often nest near each other but do not reside in hives as many species of bumblebees and honeybees do.
If you are a backyard gardener and you enjoy tending a beautiful bouquet of colour through flowers, fruit bearing plants, or vegetable crops, then chances are you have a variety of critters who visit your yard regularly. Some of the best critters in your yard will be pollinators like butterflies, or bees travelling from a nearby nest or hive. We can increase the chances of our gardens doing well and thriving by giving suitable nesting spaces to solitary bees to help with pollination.
Providing housing for solitary bees is a fairly easy feat. There are multiple options available for purchase (such as the pollen bee nest) at many garden stores, hardware stores, agricultural stores, specialty retailers, and even some pet stores like us! If you are more of a DIY person, you can find inspiration and tutorials all over the internet to help you on your DIY bee-home journey. The best part about solitary bee houses is that they are simple to make, and you could probably find suitable supplies around your house!
Bees are a vital part of our world’s ecosystems, and they are an increasingly threatened species due to pollution, pesticide use, habitat loss, and the decline in the ability for wild native plant species to thrive and compete with invasive flora and fauna. So, why not try to help by creating suitable homes for solitary bees on your property? Not only can you give a safe space and possibly increase the natural population size in your area, but you can passively reap the benefits for your garden beds or container plants or any wild flora that lives in and around your area.