Air Bee N’ Bee
By Raven Barto
You might have seen a large structure being built on the West District Nature Preserve over this past summer, this is my Girl Scout Gold Project. The Gold Award is the highest achievement within Girl Scouts of America. Only 5.4% of Girl Scouts successfully earn the Gold Award. This award must tackle issues in the community and leave a lasting impact.
The bee hotel is housing for solitary bees. Solitary bees live by themselves instead of hives like a bumblebee or honey bees. While these bees do not make honey, they are one of the top contributors of crop pollination and without them the production of food in the world would be greatly reduced. These bees are in great crisis and their numbers have been dwindling at a rapid rate throughout the world. I created my project to bring awareness to these bees and their plight and show what we, as humans, can do to help them.
Solitary bees tend to have a short lifespan and due to this will tend to have a short flying range from home to preserve energy. When they first look for a good nesting spot, they may fly a few miles searching. Once they check into their new bee home, they only fly a few hundred feet (about 100 meters) from their nesting site. This is why it is extremely essential to surround the bee hotel with flowers for all types of pollinators but especially for the bees. It is very important to note that solitary bees have no desire for aggression towards humans or other animals, their main focus is reproduction and survival.
The bee hotel on the West District Nature Preserve will supply a home for solitary bees for many years to come as well as an educational opportunity for West District School and the Farmington Land Trust. The bee hotel is designed with many different types of wood and material for a variety of solitary bees as there are over 4,000 different species. I created a beautiful butterfly garden in front of the structure to provide a close source of nutrition for the bees. There will be opportunities to learn more about these bees and build your own Air Bee N’ Bee in the near future. Stay buzzed in!