Updates From Our 2021 Bee Hoteliers

A bee hotel hanging in a backyard garden

Photo courtesy of Kim Geddes

Over a hundred bee-lovers joined us last February for an online bee hotel build-a-long with our friends at Hill Library’s Maker Space, so we reached out to our bee hoteliers to see how the summer season went – and it was a resounding success!

Results from the survey sent to participants of the bee hotel build-a-long.

Over 50% of respondents reported that their hotels were occupied by bees, with most hoteliers opting to purchase reeds for their hotel’s nesting materials.

“Cities are a mixed bag for bees. Most species nest in the ground, and tend not to do as well in towns,” says Elsa Youngsteadt, the research lead for the Bee Hotel Build-a-Long and professor of applied ecology. “But in NC, about a quarter of our bee species nest in pre-existing tunnels–usually in dead wood or stems–but many bees are also willing to use nail holes, chinks in mortar, old hoses, you name it. These are the bees who are ready to step up and pollinate our urban plants, and we can help them do that even better by adding extra real estate in bee hotels.”

A bee hotel with a visible bee butt busy building a nest cavity. Picture provided by bee hotel event participant, Mary Davis.

This event was such a success for the participants and the bees that we’re planning on revamping it for February 2022! Keep an eye out on our social media channels, or, subscribe to the newsletter to be the first to know about this and other Applied Ecology events.

2 responses on “Updates From Our 2021 Bee Hoteliers

  1. Mary Davis says:

    To Elsa or anyone who may be able to answer this question. I built two bee hotels and used the same nesting materials. My hotel is the one pictured in your news update. The one I have at my home is about 30% full. I gave one to a friend and his became about 80 full. (He has a large garden and a number of fruit tress nearby.) My question is this. My hotel tunnels remain full, and I assume will hatch next year. The reeds I placed in a emergence box, and the wood block I’ve left in the hotel. My friends bee box looks as if his bees emerged this fall. The tunnel material is broken apart and the cavities are empty. I thought we had the same bees. Could there have been a parasite or something that ate his bees or could his have hatched?

    1. Hi Mary! Check your email for a more detailed response. We’ll get to the bottom of this!

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