January was for the bees

Posted by: Barton Mills Jr Allotment Club

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Barton Mills Jr Allotment Club

The topic for our January JACs meeting was making a bee hotel.

 Our expert beekeeper, Tim Harris, started the meeting by asking, what do bees do for us? You could see by the expressions on their faces – their eyes getting bigger and slightly leaning back in their chairs – they were having a think, when Olivia says, “they help our gardens grow!” That’s right, they aren’t just scary things flying around. In fact, Tim explained to the children, bees are one of the most important pollinators of fruit and vegetables. We rely on bees to pollinate apples, onions, carrots, broccoli, melons, and much more. So, he told them, we are building a bee hotel for the allotment. Tim explained how the bees would come to live in the hotel and help us pollinate. Using scrap wood, he made a box frame (but you could even use an empty soda bottle with the top cut off, see the link below with opal) and the JACs would be stacking the inside of the frame with bamboo. This would make the “rooms” for the bees to live. As the children pushed in the bamboo they talked about how many bees would live in their hotel and how our veg will be bigger and better because of the bees. They we so excited we made two, one for the ground and one to hang.

When to install your bee hotel

Ideally, according to Opal, the bee hotel should be put in place by mid-March and taken down and stored in an unheated shed or outhouse at the beginning of October to keep it out of the worst of the elements to extend its life-span. If you take it down for the winter, make sure you remember to put it back up again next spring so that the bees can emerge outside.

(http://www.opalexplorenature.org/sites/default/files/7/file/Howtomakeabeehotel.pdf)

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