One of Fred Haynes’ main goals in planting a living green roof was to provide a habitat suitable for the native pollinators, plants and birds. (Black Press Media file photo)

Saanich mayor signs up for mason bee rental service

Fred Haynes rents mason bee colony from Oyster River beekeeper for his Prospect Lake home

An Oyster River-based mason bee company has extended its bee rental program to the South Island, and Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes was the first to sign up to host a colony.

Gordon Cyr and his family run Bee Canadian, a small business that has sold and rented mason bees in the Campbell River and Courtney area for six years. They have been raising mason bees for 20 years and provide about 600 homeowners with mason bees annually.

READ ALSO: Oyster River beekeeper Gordon Cyr recognized continentally

Orchard mason bees, native to Vancouver Island, nest in holes and work hard to cross-pollinate the surrounding area during the cool, wet spring months, Cyr explains on the company website.

The company rents bees and the accompanying bee-house kits of various sizes to homeowners and companies in suitable locations on Vancouver Island.

Recently, Cyr launched the rental program online and expanded the service to the South Island. While attending the Seedy Saturday event organized by Haliburton Farm at the Horticultural Centre of the Pacific on Jan. 11, he invited residents to host a bee colony in the spring. The first homeowner to sign up was Haynes.

The Saanich mayor is excited to host mason bees at his new home near Prospect Lake. His living green roof – installed in the fall – is designed to support pollinators, birds and native plants.

“I feel like I’m an adoptive father,” Haynes said of the bees he’ll receive in the spring.

According to Cyr, the friendly bees are easy to raise; they are said to be kid-friendly, fun to watch and provide great learning opportunities.

To rent the bees, property owners must have a garden with lots of spring-blooming flowers, mud for the bees to use to build walls in their nesting block and a location along a south or southeast-facing wall where the bees will receive morning sun to warm them up for the day.

READ ALSO: Saanich mayor begins living roof planting process

Once the location has been deemed suitable to host the bees, the rental process can begin. Rental kits range in size and price. The smaller “huts” cost $25 while the “hotels” cost $85. Once a kit has been ordered, it can be picked up and installed in March. Kits are then returned to the company in June once the bees’ work is complete. The new generation is laid in the nesting holes and the adults die after about eight weeks. Staff care for the eggs over the summer so the new generation is ready for winter hibernation then spring pollination the following year.

The next bee and kit pickup day is Feb. 15 at the Victoria Conference Centre during the Seedy Saturday market.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

NatureSaanich

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes jumped in and got his hands dirty planting while his living roof in September. (Black Press Media file photo)

Just Posted

Sidney company tastes sweet success with sugar kelp

Cascadia Seaweed is experiencing rapid growth after launching six months ago

Westin Bear Mountain invests $2 million to renovate newly-named spa

‘Amatista Spa’ has yet to announce official opening date

North Saanich floats tougher policies for buoys and moorings near Tsehum Harbour

Municipality also considers additional collaboration with Sidney and other communities

HarbourCats team up with Bastion Books to bring back Harvey’s Reading Club

HarbourCats and Bastions Books offer students free game tickets in an effort to promote child literacy

Central Saanich newspaper carrier gets letter of thanks, chocolates from her community for note

Ava Verscheure started her first very job by introducing herself to residents along newspaper route

VIDEO: Minister reports ‘modest progress’ after blockade talks with First Nation

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say Coastal GasLink does not have authority to go through their lands

Henrique scores 2 as Ducks soar past Canucks 5-1

Vancouver tumbles out of top spot in Pacific Division

Trudeau cancels Caribbean trip amid pipeline protests across Canada

Protests against Coastal GasLink have disrupted rail service

B.C. VIEWS: Inaction on pipeline protests not a viable response

Columnist Frank Bucholtz on how the Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute got so bad

PHOTOS: Top 10 memories of the 2010 Olympics

Black Press Media’s Jenna Hauck, shares some of her most memorable images of 2010 Winter Games

#FoxForFiver: Support grows in B.C. to put Terry Fox on new $5 bill

Terry Fox’ Marathon of Hope raised money for cancer research

Trudeau confers with cabinet ministers as rail blockades continue

The Trudeau government has been criticized for not doing more to end the blockades

Canadian nurses’ unions warn national standards for coronavirus protection too low

President says safety protocols nationwide are inadequate compared to those in Ontario and other countries

Most Read