A group of children from the Eastern Fraser Valley Young Naturalists Club (EFVYNC) learned all about mason bees from expert Hugh Laughlin, 88, on the weekend. The kids gathered at his home on Camp River Road on Sunday.
Since Laughlin is getting older, he wanted to pass his knowledge and expertise about the native mason bees on to a younger generation to try an increase fruit tree and crop pollination in the Fraser Valley.
Over his 20 years of studying mason bees, Laughlin created a type of nesting box ideal for the bees (pictured above). The boxes are made up of about five or six pieces of stacked wooded, each with grooves cut into them to house the bees. Some are even painted various bright colours to help the bees identify which home is theirs.
Mason bees are also known as blue orchard bees and are black with a blue iridescent colour to them, similar to a fly. They will only sting if squeezed or stepped on
Spreading the word on mason bees will help increase the pollination of fruit trees and crops in the Fraser Valley, says EFVYNC volunteer leader Cynthia Berg.
That day, each child went home with a nesting box and bee cocoons so that they could house their own crop of mason bees in their backyard. The cocoons are expected to hatch any day, says Berg.