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Bee Pollination | The Benefits of Luring and Housing Bees

Bee Pollination | The Benefits of Luring and Housing Bees
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Bees buzzing around your gardens and property are a good thing, and beekeeping has been gaining popularity in the New England states. Sure, it’s a hobby with sweet benefits, but it’s also a way to boost bee pollination, ensuring that the optimum amount of plants are reproducing and bearing fruit — none of which could be done with out the beneficial presence of bees.

Bees Polinate Plants

In addition to honey bees, mason bees (also known as orchard bees) are very beneficial and do not sting. Although they do not produce honey, the bee pollination they provide is an important part of the flower, fruit, and vegetable reproduction process.

If keeping honey bees is not for you, consider building or purchasing a simple mason bee box — instructions below — to place in an area where extra bee pollination is needed. The bees will retreat to the holes in the bee box and lay eggs in the holes when they’re not buzzing around flowers and trees.

If you find a wild bee colony swarming in a tree, on the side of your house or at any other area on your property, think twice before calling an exterminator. Professional bee keepers will usually be glad to remove the hive and bees, and will transport everything to an apiary or other area where bee pollination is wanted and needed.

A Working Mason Bee House

Photo/Art by Shelley WigglesworthA Working Mason Bee House

Instructions to Build a Mason Bee Box

  1. Drill 12 or more holes 1/4-3/8 thick into a pine block that is at least 6 inches deep. The holes should be drilled approximately 3/4 inches apart.
  2. If you want a decorative bee box add a slanted or painted roof. Do not shellac or add preservatives to the pine where the bee nesting holes are located.
  3. Mount the bee box as you would a bird house in an area where pollination is needed.

5 Fascinating Bee Facts

  1. The average beehive is home to approximately 35,000 bees.
  2. Honey bees will visit between 50-100 flowers during one nectar collection trip.
  3. Honeybees do not die over the winter. They stay in the hive and feed on the honey they collected during warmer months.
  4. Honeybees never sleep.
  5. A bee can fly approximately 15 miles per hour.

For more information on bee pollination or the removal of a bee hive, colony, or swarm, contact your state University’s Master Gardener Volunteer Program using the links below:

New England University Master Gardener website links:

New Hampshire: extension.unh.edu/Agric/AGMastGD.htm

Maine: umaine.edu/gardening/programs/master-gardeners/

Vermont: uvm.edu/mastergardener/

Massachusetts: www.umassextension.org/index.php/information/gardening 

Connecticut: ladybug.uconn.edu/mastergardener/howto.html 

Rhode Island: uri.edu/ce/ceec/mastergardener.html

Shelley Wigglesworth

Author:

Shelley Wigglesworth

Biography:

Shelley Fleming-Wigglesworth is a certified Maine Master Gardener and award winning newspaper columnist from Kennebunk, Maine. She has been writing for the York County Coast Star for more than a decade as a freelance columnist and features writer. In 2010 she began writing her own gardening column “The Master Gardener’s Notebook” for Tourist News. She also teaches gardening classes at local schools and colleges

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