By LeAnna Badillo

By LeAnna Badillo

For science, my 6 year old daughter and I read Turn this book into a Beehive! by Lynn Brunelle.

We learned so much about bees that I didn’t know. Before reading this book, I categorized
buzzing flying things capable of stinging me into “bad” (wasps/hornets/yellow jackets) and
“good” bees, though I still didn’t like bees because they sting you. Now I know there are so
many more types of bees than I knew about and that Mason bees are really cool. My daughter
refers to Mason bees as the “nice” bees that don’t sting you unless you hurt them, because
unlike honey bees, they aren’t protecting a hive so they really don’t sting unless you physically
harm them. The fact I found most interesting is that 250 blue orchard mason bees can pollinate
an acre of fruit as effectively as 40,000 honey bees!
We already knew that bees help our local farms, but we also learned that without bees there
would be no pizza! Which would be a terrible tragedy at my house.
Some of the ways we can help bees, who in turn help our local farmers, is by planting things
that attract bees and by providing them with housing. A few of the helpful native plants that
bloom in spring in the Pacific Northwest are the hazelnut tree, trillium, blackberry, and vine
maple. During the summer time there are plenty of garden plants and herbs to attract bees
including basil, oregano, mint, sage, thyme, tomato, and zucchini – you can buy starts for most
of these at the Farmers Market when we open in May! Autumn plants include pumpkin and
squash.
If you’re interested in providing mason bees with housing, we found lots of plans online and
most of them are very simple. My daughter highly recommends everyone read Turn this book
into a Beehive! because it has lots of cool science experiments for kids and adults to learn more
about bees…and you can make a beehive!
Check out pollinator.org and thehoneybeeconservancy.org/mason-bees for more ways to
support our local farmers by helping bees.

By LeAnna Badillo