A Hotel for the Bees
Michigan is home to at least 465 species of bees! The vast majority of these bees are solitary, which means that each female builds and maintains her own nest. Many solitary bees make their nests above ground using a variety of materials, including hollow plant stems, brush piles, and pre-existing holes made by wood-boring beetles. These bees are called cavity-nesting bees and are primarily made up by mason bees (Osmia species) and leafcutter bees (Megachile species). Both groups of bees pollinate flowering plants, which include most of our fruits and vegetables. You can help conserve cavity-nesting bees by providing them with nesting resources, such as a bee hotel. You can purchase a premade bee hotel or build your own like we have done at the KNC.
In fall of 2019, KNC partnered with Eagle Scout Bryan Morrissey to build bee hotels for use on KNC property. With assistance from fellow scouts, leaders from Troop 287, and community members, Bryan made three bee hotels using drilled logs and bamboo with hole diameters ranging from 3/32 to 3/8 inches to attract a diversity of bees. Bryan’s Eagle Scout project included donating these hotels, as well as extra nesting material for future use. The three bee hotels will be put up each year in the Hummingbird Butterfly Garden, Delano Farms, and the Urban Nature Park located in downtown Kalamazoo.
Interested in building your own bee hotel? Bryan provided step-by-step instructions for the project here. Whether you chose to follow this guide or design your own bee hotel, be sure to place it in an area that is protected from rain, wind, and insect predators and that you clean it yearly when it is unoccupied. Thanks to Bryan for providing a helping hand to KNC’s bee population!