One of Fred Haynes’ main goals in planting a living green roof was to provide a habitat suitable for the native pollinators, plants and birds. (Black Press Media file photo)

Mason bee service expands to the south Island

Saanich mayor rents mason bee colony from Oyster River beekeeper for his Prospect Lake home

An Oyster River-based mason bee company has extended its bee rental program to the South Island, and Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes was the first to sign up to host a colony.

Gordon Cyr and his family run Bee Canadian, a small business that has sold and rented mason bees in the Campbell River and Courtenay area for six years. They have been raising mason bees for 20 years and provide about 600 homeowners with mason bees annually.

READ ALSO: Oyster River beekeeper Gordon Cyr recognized continentally

Orchard mason bees, native to Vancouver Island, nest in holes and work hard to cross-pollinate the surrounding area during the cool, wet spring months, Cyr explains on the company website.

The company rents bees and the accompanying bee-house kits of various sizes to homeowners and companies in suitable locations on Vancouver Island.

Recently, Cyr launched the rental program online and expanded the service to the South Island. While attending the Seedy Saturday event organized by Haliburton Farm at the Horticultural Centre of the Pacific on Jan. 11, he invited residents to host a bee colony in the spring. The first homeowner to sign up was Haynes.

The Saanich mayor is excited to host mason bees at his new home near Prospect Lake. His living green roof – installed in the fall – is designed to support pollinators, birds and native plants.

“I feel like I’m an adoptive father,” Haynes said of the bees he’ll receive in the spring.

According to Cyr, the friendly bees are easy to raise; they are said to be kid-friendly, fun to watch and provide great learning opportunities.

To rent the bees, property owners must have a garden with lots of spring-blooming flowers, mud for the bees to use to build walls in their nesting block and a location along a south or southeast-facing wall where the bees will receive morning sun to warm them up for the day.

READ ALSO: Saanich mayor begins living roof planting process

Once the location has been deemed suitable to host the bees, the rental process can begin. Rental kits range in size and price. The smaller “huts” cost $25 while the “hotels” cost $85. Once a kit has been ordered, it can be picked up and installed in March. Kits are then returned to the company in June once the bees’ work is complete. The new generation is laid in the nesting holes and the adults die after about eight weeks. Staff care for the eggs over the summer so the new generation is ready for winter hibernation then spring pollination the following year.

The next bee and kit pickup day is Feb. 15 at the Victoria Conference Centre during the Seedy Saturday market.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

NatureSaanich

 

Gordon Cyr was recognized as one of North America’s most dedicated advocates for pollinators in 2018. (Black Press Media file photo)

Just Posted

Earthquake off coast of Washington recorded at 4.1 magnitude

The quake was recorded at a depth of 10 kilometres

UPDATED: Man dies from injuries at Custom House construction site in Victoria

Government Street remains closed as investigation continues

Oak Bay sailor stranded in U.S. hospital after suffering massive stroke at sea

Glenn Wakefield’s rescue involved five airplanes and took more than 48 hours

Nanaimo RCMP shut down illegal racing and stunt driving site at Duke Point

Police “swoop in” to seize vehicles and issue violation tickets

First storm of the season expected to hit Vancouver Island tonight

Environment Canada has issued a storm warning with wind, and rain that could last into the weekend

B.C. reports 96 new COVID-19 cases, one hospital outbreak

61 people in hospital as summer ends with election

VIJHL season could start Oct. 1, says league president

League awaiting final approval from local health authorities and viaSport

B.C.’s top doctor says she’s received abuse, death threats during COVID-19 response

Henry has become a national figure during her time leading B.C.’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA Doug Routley seeks reelection

Routley has served as MLA for the area since 2005.

BC Liberals must change gears from election cynicism, focus on the issues: UBC professors

COVID-19 response and recovery is likely to dominate platforms

B.C. could be without a new leader for multiple weeks after Election Day: officials

More than 20K mail-in voting packages were requested within a day of B.C. election being called

B.C. ELECTION: Island MLA Adam Olsen says NDP is sacrificing health for politics

Olsen acknowledges situation of a snap election is not ideal for BC Greens,

Babchuk nominated as NDP candidate

Seeks to replace outgoing MLA Claire Trevena

VicPD seeking help in recovering stolen scooter of B.C. Special Olympics athlete

The scooter was stolen from outside Hillside Mall on Sept.21

Most Read