Cornell Cooperative Extension in Schuyler County is building an interactive educational bee hotel in their teaching garden. Crown Bees is helping to provide our expertise on hole-nesting bee habitat. Stay tuned as the bee hotel grows.

Bee Hotel is Complete! October 3, 2017

Cornell's completed bee hotel

The shelter is completely finished! Along one wall is an educational space for learning about bee hotels. Crown Bees donated a set of our weatherproof educational signs, some brochures, and some nesting holes. There are many more nesting sites in the bee hotel structure that can be filled and we are hopeful that local garden visitors will donate healthy nesting holes to this super bee hotel. We will keep you updated on bee activity that should start back up next spring!

Close up of the hotel's educational signs

Close up of healthy nesting holes

Walls, Shelves, and a Roof: July 25, 2017

Cornell's bee hotel now has walls and a roof!

A mere two weeks before the unveiling, the pollinator hotel has finally arrived in the Teaching Garden. Due to the unique three-sided design of the structure, the contractor had to extend the process as he waited for the custom hip roof to come in. Stain is still needed to weatherize the structure and add some shine. And the hotel must be filled with a variety of nesting materials. Volunteers have donated time and the necessary supplies to make this happen. Wood sticks, cardboard tubes, lake reeds, and concrete blocks are some examples of the nesting components. Instead of waiting for a glass brochure holder to be ordered and delivered, we are asking for a cork board donation from which we will hang educational materials on one side of the hotel. Overall, Cooperative Extension is very happy with our progress. We are fortunate here in Schuyler County to have such generous community residents willing to aid us in this effort. On August 7th, Cornell Cooperative Extension Schuyler County is hosting a Party for the Pollinators to celebrate this new structure, educate the public on this topic, and involve people in efforts to support native insect populations. All of those interested in this event are welcome, please join us in the garden or get in touch with your local Cooperative Extension with pollinator questions or comments.

Concrete is Poured: June 30, 2017

Bee hotel concrete has been poured

With concrete poured for the base of the pollinator hotel, progress on the structure is starting to appear in the Teaching Garden. Moreover, Cooperative Extension received news that the contractor has picked up the lumber and will start work in the near future. With help from the Crown Bees administration, plans for specific bee habitats have been tailored to meet the insects’ preferences. The habitat, offered on two sides of the building, will include a variety of nest sizes and building materials to cater to different bees. For instance, the diameter of nesting holes will vary in order to appeal to numerous insects that range in shapes and sizes. Other accommodations include supplying readily available organic matter - clay, grass, mud, pebbles - to be used in nest construction. On the remaining side of the structure, educational materials will be displayed for patrons observing the nesting bees and numerous other pollinators that visit the garden. With education as its main goal, Cooperative Extension is already drawing public interest and support for this new structure, which should provide lasting instruction and engagement. A special event is being planned to unveil the new pollinator hotel later this summer, which will aid in public understanding of the role of pollinators and their significance. Advancements thus far have been exciting, and the future holds many more opportunities for engagement with an impressive new pollinator hotel in the works.

Laying the foundation: Pollinator Week June 25, 2017

Drawing plan for Cornell's bee hotel project

Plans for Cornell's interactive bee hotel.

Using donated materials from local residents, Cornell Cooperative Extension in Schuyler County is building an educational pollinator hotel in their garden. The hotel will be located in a teaching garden open to the public, where members of the community can pass by and grab a flyer or read about the bees. More specifically in 2015, five varieties of bees were released including those of the leafcutting and mason family. These Megachilidae are expert pollinators necessary in ensuring the germination of over 60 varieties of fruiting plants that are contained within the garden’s seemingly small plot. The teaching garden’s name exemplifies the mission of the Cooperative Extension office: to educate the public with research-based information.

However, as funding for these programs dwindles, it is harder to organize and implement the work that Extension desires to do. In order to get the project off the ground, local community members agreed to donate their time and resources. Slowly but surely, the pollinator hotel plans were drawn up and, more recently, a base was secured in the ground. In time, the pollinator hotel will reach seven feet, fully equipped with shelves made out of desirable building materials for the bees. For the public, a four-sided roof will provide protection while engaged individuals can enter the hotel, observe, read, and learn from the structure itself.

Some of the groups who work with the Schuyler County Cooperative Extension include WIC, ARC, 4-H, the Department of Social Services, and the Office for the Aging. Individuals involved in these programs have the opportunity to benefit from the information disseminated in the garden. This year, a focus on attracting native pollinators has called for this new structure and directive for teaching about these important insects. If all goes well, the residents of Schuyler County will soon be able to enjoy the new hotel and learn about pollinators through direct experience and interaction.

Bee hotel foundation waiting for concrete

The bee hotel's foundation awaits a pour of concrete.