Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Erin was Right: Ground Nesting Bees at the Sunset Community Centre

One day when biologist Erin Udal and I were driving past the Sunset Community Centre on Main Erin looked at the adjacent hill and said, "I bet there are ground nesting bees there." Well of course, curiosity drew me to the hill and I did a quick search for bees. Turns our Erin was right.

This hill just north of the centre has a patchy lawn with Dutch clover and dandelions. On a muggy overcast day the weeds were full of bees. It's also located right next to the Sunset Nursery, which likely supports a few bee species in itself. The fence along the nursery hosts vetch and morning glory, more weeds for bees.

 The soil exposed in the patchy lawn is quite loose and sandy, and the angle of the hill would help with drainage, keeping the nests dry.

It's that time of the year when competition gets fierce for nectar and pollen, making leaving the flowering weeds more important than ever.

It's a pollinator party!

Bees also love these silk trees and the scent of the blossoms is heady.

A large Eastern bumblebee shows off its forked tongue while posing on a morning glory flower.

This is a great spot for a lovely beech tree.

And here's an Agapostemon, a beautiful ground nesting sweat bee, just as Erin predicted. So I'm throwing down the gauntlet: I really think the gardeners that work in the Sunset nursery could create a showcase bee garden around the base of this little hill. I'd also love to see an art piece made of natural materials that features the habitat and protects the nests from too much foot traffic. Furthermore, I'd love to see a pollinator pathway project that continues over to the skating rink grounds where there is more potential for pollinator habitat and onto the school grounds of Henderson Elementary School. From there, the beautiful front and backyard gardens would continue supporting bees on all the way to Fraser Street, making it a fantastic habitat corridor. Let's do it!

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