I Did It: Building Bee-opolis

“In every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks.” ― John Muir

The bee related headlines tend to focus on the European Honey bee, but did you know that they can’t pollinate tomato plants? Only native bees can do that! And it’s the native bees which have captivated me. There are approximately 4,000 bee species which are native the US and several hundred of those are native to Texas where I live.

I garden for biodiversity; native plants are raised to provide food and habitat for native wildlife of all sorts. It made perfect sense to provide a home for the native bees which pollinate these gardens. Most of these are solitary bees, so I did some research and I bought a bee house. Over the next two years, I was gifted some houses and won several more. The only real guideline on bee house placement is to face east, so I originally had them scattered around the gardens. Eventually, I found that there was one particular area which was a favorite – the Riviera of bee real estate as it were. The problem was how to get multiple bees houses in one location without punching holes in my house or having it become a forest of poles and stakes. I had an added incentive as my gardens were open to the public during the native garden tours in the spring and fall of 2015. In the spring, most people didn’t appear very interested in the bee houses around the gardens. So I wanted a solution which would also appeal to the human sense of aesthetic and let people see that bee houses could be an attractive part of any landscape.

Being an engineer, I knew I need a sturdy structure - the answer I settled on was a trellis, and the idea for bee-opolis was born. All my bee houses are now mounted on a three panel trellis, and the human reactions to it this fall were very positive. Seeing the different native bees come and go is a joy, and it’s an attractive garden feature – so why not consider adding a home for your native bees?

For More Information:

Check out the Xerces Society

General information on US bees

Information of Texas bees

Written By: Lor O.

Photo By: Lor O.