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

Bhagwan Mayer. (Photo submitted)
Organizer of transporting the World’s Largest Hockey Stick to Cowichan remembered

Bhagwan Mayer a “hard-working fellow who cared about his community.”

Pnina Benyamini strikes a yoga pose. (Photo submitted)
Many facets to energetic woman’s legacy

Benyamini taught yoga, belly dancing and more to an adoring public

FILE – British Columbia provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry wears a face mask as she views the Murals of Gratitude exhibition in Vancouver, on Friday, July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Masks now mandatory in all public indoor and retail spaces in B.C.

Many retailers and businesses had voiced their frustration with a lack of mask mandate before

Island Health’s acting medical health officer for the central Island says schools are very safe, even after COVID-19 exposure at five schools in Nanaimo-Ladysmith this month. (File photo)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith and Qualicum superintendents ask Island Health about COVID-19 safety at schools

Central Island medical health officer answers questions parents have been asking

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. daily COVID-19 cases hits record 941 on Tuesday

Further restrictions on indoor exercise take effect

(Pixabay.com)
Man, 28, warned by Kootenay police to stop asking people to marry him

A woman initially reported the incident to police before they discovered others had been popped the question

Winston Blackmore (left) and James Oler (right) were sentenced on separate charges of polygamy this week in Cranbrook Supreme Court.
No more charges expected in Bountiful investigation, special prosecutor says

Special prosecutor says mandate has ended following review of evidence from Bountiful investigations

(Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Refuse to follow B.C.’s mask mandate? Face a $230 fine

Masks are now required to be worn by all British Columbians, 12 years and older

Parksville’s French Creek Harbour experienced a diesel spill on Nov. 23 after a barge and fishing vessel collided. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Coast Guard cleans up diesel spill in Parksville’s French Creek Harbour

Barge carrying fuel truck collides with fishing vessel

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

BC Teachers' Federation President Teri Mooring is asking parents of school-aged children to encourage the wearing of masks when possible in schools. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
LETTER: Teachers union encourages culture of mask wearing in B.C. schools

BCTF President Teri Mooring asks parents to talk with children about wearing masks in school

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

Stock photo
Senior from Gibsons caught viewing child porn sentenced to 10 months

74-year-old pleaded guilty after police seized 1,500-2,500 images

Most Read