World News

West Vancouver Library now offering Bee Colonies for Borrowing

Patrons at the West Vancouver Memorial Library can’t stop talking about a unique mason bee loan program that includes a specially designed “bungalow” for the bees.

The goal of the bee program, according to Taren Urquhart, the library’s arts and special events programmer, is to educate people about the importance of pollinators and show them how simple it is to raise these friendly insects.

Interested individuals must attend a 60-minute lecture to learn about the bees’ life cycle and how to care for their homes before borrowing the dormant young bees along with the bungalow for a year of beekeeping.

“They are truly fascinating. Once you start learning about them, you’ll be captivated,” she said. “They are incredibly gentle and easy to care for in your backyard.”

The bungalow is a circular tube made out of plumbing piping, approximately 10 centimeters in circumference, with several grass reed tubes inside resembling thick straws. The bees spend the spring filling the tubes with eggs, nectar, and pollen to nourish their young before completing their life cycle in June.

Anyone with a West Vancouver Memorial Library card can borrow ten to fifteen mason bee cocoons along with the bungalow.

The bee colony can be placed outside a home or on an apartment patio.

The program was launched three years ago during the pandemic, and despite being fully booked with 27 bee homes loaned out this year, Urquhart mentioned that she is happy to add interested individuals to the waiting list.

Mason bees, unlike honeybees brought by European settlers, are indigenous to B.C. They are solitary pollinators that prefer to work independently but live together in a colony.

These bees do not produce honey and they are not aggressive. Urquhart, who has worked with the insects for 30 years, has been stung only twice.

Mason bees have no yellow coloring and may be mistaken for houseflies due to their shimmering black and blue bodies.

“You might have seen them in your backyard without realizing they were bees,” said Urquhart.

They are diligent workers, able to continue pollinating plants even when honeybees retreat during rain showers.

“They are exceptionally effective pollinators, even better than honeybees,” she noted.

Lesley Childs, a library staff member, began mason bee-keeping a decade ago after receiving a bee house from Urquhart’s father.

“After placing the bees in the house for the first time, I noticed a significant increase in fruit from my plum tree. It was incredible, and my garden became much more productive,” Childs shared.

Childs now owns three bee houses and enjoys observing them.

Borrowers of the bee home are invited back to the library every spring for a cocoon washing event to maintain a clean environment for the young bees’ survival.

“We clean the cocoons and exchange knowledge during the event,” described Urquhart.

The program has attracted a diverse group of beekeepers, from young families with children to seniors looking to connect with nature, even individuals who were not previously interested in insects.

“Some participants were hesitant at first but became curious and engaged once they interacted with the bees,” Urquhart stated.

Urquhart emphasized that the project aims to not only promote bee-keeping but also to provide a safe and clean habitat for the bees.

“As humans, we often rush into things. We create homes for bees without considering if we are doing it right. We need to ensure that we are maintaining their cleanliness and providing them with a suitable habitat,” she added.

Source link


I'm TruthUSA, the author behind TruthUSA News Hub located at With our One Story at a Time," my aim is to provide you with unbiased and comprehensive news coverage. I dive deep into the latest happenings in the US and global events, and bring you objective stories sourced from reputable sources. My goal is to keep you informed and enlightened, ensuring you have access to the truth. Stay tuned to TruthUSA News Hub to discover the reality behind the headlines and gain a well-rounded perspective on the world.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.