Wed. Apr 24th, 2024

Want to raise bees? West Vancouver library lends pollinators

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Mason bees are often confused with flies because their color is shimmering black and blue.

The Canadian Press

The bee colony lending program at the Memorial Library in West Vancouver has continued to be a success since its inception three years. Moreover, all the pollinators and fertilization hives were loaned this year. Those interested will therefore have to wait until 2025 to register for the program.

The municipal library's program aims to raise awareness about the importance of pollinators, says Taren Urquhart, special events programmer.

Taren Urquhart adds that before borrowing them, participants must complete a one-hour training course to learn about the life cycle of bees and how to care for them. They are fascinating. Once you learn more about them, you're hooked!, she says.

They are friendly and easy to raise in the garden.

A quote from Taren Urquhart, West Vancouver Memorial Library

They, They are mason bees, a species native to British Columbia, which prefer to work alone, but live in a colony.

People with a library card can borrow 10 to 15 mason bee cocoons and small fertilization hives.

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These hives are composed of a 10 cm large plumbing pipe, in which there are small tubes. Bees lay their eggs there and add nectar and pollen to feed them, explains Taren Urquhart.

The hive can be installed in the garden of a house or on the balcony of an apartment. This year 27 fertilization hives were loaned, but the programmer would be happy to add more to the program.

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The bees put the eggs in the tubes, then add pollen and nectar.

Mason bees are harmless and do not make honey, but they have a much higher rate of pollination than those that produce honey. You've probably seen them in your garden without knowing it was a bee, says Taren Urquhart, who notes that they are often confused with flies because they don't have yellow on their bodies.

They are very, very effective pollinators.

A quote from Taren Urquhart, West Vancouver Memorial Library

Lesley Childs, a library worker, started breeding mason bees 10 years ago, when she received a hive built by Taren Urquhart's father.

The first year [of beekeeping], I noticed that my plum tree had more fruit. It was extraordinary and I find that my garden is more productive, she describes. She now has three hives and enjoys spending time watching the bees.

People who have borrowed bees are invited each winter to participate in an event of washing cocoons, to prepare them for hibernation.

We open all the tubes, then we wash the cocoons, says Taren Urquhart.

The program has attracted all kinds of beekeepers, including families with young children or elderly people, or even people who are not very interested by insects.

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