When it comes to human treatment of bees, bee hotels are the worst thing we’ve ever done, right? In the past month or so, I’ve seen several articles and other social media posts that might have you believe it. These critiques take an ‘all solutions are terrible’ approach to bee advocacy along the same line as other such catastrophic, dismissive, and pessimistic thinking clouding over real attempts at changing course in response to ecological emergencies. If these critics are correct, it would seem that our efforts at providing shelter for native bees are more effectively speeding up their demise, exposing them to mites and disease, and leaving them at the mercy of devastating forces like rain and cold weather, than helping boost their population numbers or bringing pretty insects into our backyard. Conclusion: give up. There’s nothing we can do about anything.Read More
Over the last year, wild bee advocacy has become one of my clearest passions. While there are lots of ways we can engage in advocacy for these animals, the creation of bee hotels occupies an emergent market niche that I believe has the potential to become as common as birdhouses, given a few years of design innovation and market saturation to reach a wider audience. The effects of this market’s growth could have a tremendously positive impact on dwindling wild bee populations around the world.Read More
When it comes to wild bee advocacy, there are two key strategies people are talking about: building bee hotels and planting for pollinators. Both of these are great ideas that our planet definitely needs more folks engaged with. However, not everyone is in a position to build bee hotels, nor does everyone have access to their own yard where bee hotels or pollinator-attracting plants can be placed.Read More
So, you’ve gathered up all your materials, you’ve picked out your cutesy design features, and you’re all set to build your first bee hotel. All of the sudden, with drill in hand and ready to go, you realize you’ve forgotten to plan a very important part of your design. What size holes do we make?
After ‘what amount of long-term care is involved?’ this is probably the second-most common question I get about bee hotels. And much like the former question, it’s answer can be ambiguous depending on who you speak to, how the bees in your area are behaving, and really, how much you’re trying to engage in this kind of work.Read More
When folks ask if there’s a lot of work involved in keeping a bee hotel, I tend to give two answers. The first is no. It’s possible to install a wild bee habitat in your garden and never have anything to do with it again.
The second answer is yes. If you want to get involved in long-term care for native bees, there’s plenty more to do. Really it all boils down to how much time and labor you’re able to invest in caring for our wild bees. This post highlights some of the ways we can get involved in wild bee advocacy on a long-term scale.Read More
I have found myself wondering what the next stage in hive evolution will be.
More than that, I have realized that the predominant theme of commercial honeybee hive design throughout history has so far been the theft of honey, only recently rivaled by concern for bee welfare. But can this dynamic be completely revolutionized—where bee welfare is the primary design concern, and the collection of bee-related products—on their terms—is only secondary? Is it possible to design a hive in which bees are given the option to provide products like honey or pollen for species other than themselves?Read More