These little black or blue-green pollinators are very critical to our ecosystem, and while there are about 135 different species of them, they can all use a little help.
We've got two tubes filled in our Bee House. (on the upper right)
The female bee uses mud to seal the back of the tube (which is perfectly sized for 6 egg deposits!) She will lay one female egg at the very back, and deposit a food sack of pollen. She then builds a mud wall partition to separate that egg from the next. In total there will be 5 male eggs at equal intervals towards the entrance and one female egg at the very back. Each will have its own food source of pollen within the partitions.
When the tube is full, the bee seals it off, and starts on the next tube to repeat the process. The eggs hatch, the larvae eat up the pollen and build themselves a cocoon where they stay through the winter and hatch out in the Spring.
These great Bee Houses are made by our cousins Ross and Anne Marie, at Muskoka Honey Bee (and we can get them for our guests, if you want to buy one. They are $40)
These bees won't sting you -- I've got one of these houses right on my house, in the middle of the garden. We need to be doing all we can to promote the well-being of our bees (including making sure there are no plants treated with neonicinitoids anywhere in the country!)
The bees get their name from their ability to 'build' with mud, like a mason creating a foundation. One of the bee facts that we just love is that when the busy little bee needs to sleep for the night, she will crawl into one of the empty tubes, and lie down on her back with her little bee feet in the air.