Twenty five new solitary bee homes will be going up in gardens, parks and on balconies around De Beauvoir in the next few weeks following a ‘how to make a bee hotel’ free workshop yesterday run by Urban Bees for the Hackney community.
Held at St Peter’s Church, the frames for the bee hotels were made from old, wooden organ pipes kindly donated by the church. Old floor boards were srewed in for the backing.
Local residents donated the bamboo stems, from their gardens, in which the solitary bees will hopefully make their nests come the spring.
Those confident with a hack saw cut the hollow stems into 15cm length pieces.
For others, Brian had cut hundreds of pieces earlier in true Blue Peter style ready to fit inthe frames.
Young participants painted their bee hotels fantastic bright colours. A budding Pollock and Rothko perhaps!
It’s no good just taking your hotel home, fixing it firmly to a shed or wall or fence in a warm location, at least 1 metere above ground. The red mason bees need forage from March to July. It’s as important as proving habitat where they can nest and lay eggs.
So everyone left with a bee-friendly plant, mainly Forget-me-nots (myostis) from my garden which supply the solitary bees with nectar and pollen. And some pulmonaria from Diana Jackson’s garden.
Everyone had a fantastic afternoon. I gave a short talk about solitary bees – the unsung heros of the bee world.
“I never knew bees were so fascinating,” said Julia Porter, St Peter’s vicar and now a proud owner of a bee hotel made with her own hands that will go into the vicarage garden.
Hackney council gardener, Craig Davies, will be putting three up in De Beavoir Square.
Special thanks to Gillian Borrie for helping with the refreshments and Ruth Napolitano for taking donations to cover the costs of the event. And for Diana Weir for coming up with the idea in the first place.
Everyone went home very happy to be doing something positive for bees locally. The red mason bees and leafcutter bees will be emerging next month and looking for new homes. Workshop participants hope to share photos of bees checking-in to their hotels.
This is the first of a series of events that Urban Bees will be involved in, designed to make the De Beauvoir neighbourhood of Hackney more bee and pollinator -friendly. (Hopefully Steven King has some better photos that will be printed in forthcoming newsletters.)