Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes proudly shows off his rented mason bee colony. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes proudly shows off his rented mason bee colony. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

Saanich mayor receives his foster bees through pollinator rental program

‘I feel like I’m an adoptive father,’ Fred Haynes says of his rented mason bee colony

Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes received a buzzing bundle of joy in the mail on April 1 – the mason bees he’d rented had arrived.

In early January, Haynes attended the Seedy Saturday event at the Horticultural Centre of the Pacific and met Gordon Cyr, owner of Bee Canadian, a small business that has sold and rented mason bees in the Campbell River and Courtenay area for six years.

READ ALSO: Saanich mayor signs up for mason bee rental service

Cyr recently decided to expand the bee rentals to the South Island and the first Greater Victoria resident to sign up was Haynes.

Cyr explained that orchard mason bees a, native to Vancouver Island, require no maintenance – they simply go about their business pollinating the nearby gardens. He added that mason bees are “extremely friendly” and that people of all ages can enjoy watching the busy little bugs work.

While mason bees don’t make any honey, they are very effective pollinators, Cyr said – which is why Haynes was interested in hosting bees this year. In the fall of 2019, he and his wife had a living green roof installed on their new Prospect Lake home and planted a number of garden beds on the property. The Haynes’ gardens were specifically designed to support pollinators, birds and native plants.

READ ALSO: Saanich mayor begins living roof planting process

For $25, Cyr provides 50 baby bees and a little housing unit to be installed around the end of March. Bees have a range of about 100 yards, he explained, and 250 bees can pollinate an entire acre. After pollinating all spring, the new generation of bees is laid in the nesting holes and the adults die. At the end of June, the bee-hotel – now full of cocoons – is returned to Bee Canadian and staff will care for them.

Cocoon-care includes harvesting, washing and checking for parasites, Cyr said. Handling each returned bee-hotel takes him and his team of about seven volunteers approximately three days. The new bees are then prepped for winter hibernation and then sent out for spring pollination the following year.

READ ALSO: Oyster River beekeeper Gordon Cyr recognized continentally

Typically, the rented bees can be picked up in person at farmers’ markets throughout the region but Haynes received his bees by mail this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I feel like I’m an adoptive father,” he said of his newly arrived foster bees.

As directed, Haynes plans to hang the bee-hotel on an east-facing wall in the garden so the bees will get lots of light. On April 1, he said he’ll be waiting a few more days to let the weather get a little bit warmer before sending his baby bees out into the world to hatch and then pollinate his garden.


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

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

gardeningSaanich

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

Just Posted

North Cowichan strengthens some COVID-19 safety protocols, and introduces new ones, as the pandemic enters ts second phase. (File photo)
North Cowichan and CVRD implementing new COVID rules

Municipality reacting to new public health orders

Search and rescue crews from all over Vancouver Island responded to calls to assist with the search for a 19 year-old man with medical issues who got lost on trails in the south end of Duncan on Nov. 21. The man was found Sunday morning and taken to hospital for assessment. (Submitted photo)
Duncan man rescued after getting lost on local trails

19-year-old taken to hospital for assessment

Duncan’s Knights of Columbus hand out cheques to a slew of deserving organizations in an online event Nov. 8, 2020. (Submitted)
Duncan Knights of Columbus hand cheques to lucky 13 in virtual event

Another historic first for the Knights was to have two area mayors join the presentation

Changes to the holidays due to COVID-19 will be a challenge for people with dementia. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)
Webinars aim to help those with dementia approach holidays

“The holidays can present difficulties for people living with dementia for a multitude of reasons”

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers at the project site in Kitimat. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
Forty-one positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak in Kitimat

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

Firefighters try to put out a structure fire on the Island Highway in Nanoose Bay early Saturday morning. (Nanoose Bay Volunteer Fire Department photo)
Horses in nearby stable saved as building burns down in Nanoose Bay

Firefighters called out in the early-morning hours Saturday

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Brenda Schroeder thought she was reading it wrong when she won $100,000 from a Season’s Greetings Scratch & Win. (Courtesy BCLC)
New home on the agenda after scratch ticket win in Saanich

Victoria woman set to share her $100,000 Season’s Greetings lottery win

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

A woman being arrested at a Kelowna Value Village after refusing to wear a mask on Nov. 22.(@Jules50278750/Twitter)
VIDEO: Woman arrested for refusing to wear mask at Kelowna Value Village

RCMP claims the woman was uncooperative with officers, striking them a number of times and screaming

Most Read