What’s All the Buzz About?

By Claire Logeman
Elementary Category (Grades 4-6)
Experiment | Biology, Environment

BCVSF Note: The required ethics forms have been submitted for this project.

We all know that bees are important to food security and to the environment. Many everyday people are now trying to do their part to help the bees by placing bee hives in their garden. When I went to make or purchase a hive I noticed that there are many different types for sale and many online tutorials. It made me ask the question, “Which would attract the most Mason bees in my northern garden?”.

I made hives out of six different materials that were suggested on the internet. I made sure that we followed suggestions of leaving an eaves to protect from the elements, placing hives facing the south for sun exposure, and constructing tunnels deep enough to protect from predators.
In the fall, when we harvested the bee cocoons, we found that the bees only used the birch tree hive and the bamboo tunnel hive. We found more larvae in the birch tree hive as well as more tunnels being used. Both hives had evidence pilfered cells.

It seems that Mason bees in our climate prefer the birch tree hive with the two smaller diameter tunnels. The bamboo tunnels were their second choice and they again seemed to like the smaller tunnel diameter. There was zero evidence of use in the paper straw hive, plastic straw hive, jammed sticks hive, or the cedar tree hive leading me to conclude these hives are not the best for a northern climate.

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