In a recent blog we talked about a Florida company that rents mason bees out so you can make it real, have bees in your garden, help your kids learn all about bees. Mason bees are gentle, so they are some of the best little ambassador bees out there for making unforgettable memories right at home in your garden.
As it turns out, there is a similar service for Canadians. Bee Canadian delivers pollinators to renters in pandemic-friendly fashion. They are not letting COVID-19 restrictions kill their buzz.
So, if you haven’t got bees in your garden yet, or want to ramp it up, now is the time to get bees!
Gordon Cyr and his family have been running Bee Canadian for 20 years. They raise mason bees and provide them to homeowners across the island every spring for pollination. This is the seventh year in a row they have been renting out their little buzzers and they’re not letting the pandemic get in the way.
Bee Canadian is a small business. It sells and rents out mason bees in the Campbell River and Courtenay area. The Cyrs expanded the rental program to the South Island as well in 2020.
Orchard mason bees are native to Vancouver Island. They are friendly, harmless and require no maintenance. They are your garden helpers, pollinating your flowers and plants.
For $25 you get 50 baby bees from Bee Canadian as well as a housing unit that you can install on an east-facing outside wall around the end of March.
Watch Redfern Food Forest install a mason bee house in this unrelated 3:02-minute video:
Normally, Cyr attends farmers’ markets and gardening events around the island, making it easy for those who have signed up to adopt bees to pick them up in person. COVID-19 forced him to make other plans.
He drove down to Greater Victoria with a car loaded with bees in mid-March to drop the baby bees and their houses off to a friend. Registered renters were alerted to the new pick-up site, so they could pick up their bees without social interaction.
By mid-March he’d delivered 5,000 bees with their 30 bee houses in the Greater Victoria area. By the end of the month, approximately 135,000 rented bees will be enjoying their new garden homes and pollinating flowers all across Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.
Cyr still has 700 bee houses to prep and deliver, but he is waiting for restrictions to ease so his volunteers can give him a hand. Things are looking up now that 10 people can gather outdoors. Helpers can make a beeline to Cyr’s hobby farm in Oyster River to finish the remaining bee houses.
The mason bees spend spring pollinating before laying their eggs in the nesting holes in the bee houses. It takes 250 bees to pollinate one full acre. At the end of June, the adult bees will die, and the eggs will be returned to Bee Canadian to be cared for until next spring.
Although rentals have closed out for 2021, you can still purchase bees until April 19.
The bee business is booming, says Cyr, and he doesn’t expect it to slow down anytime soon. He recommends placing your order early if you want to rent bees in 2022 because he is expecting a spike in rentals. You can get more buzz about renting mason bees at Bee Canadian.