We Are Recruiting Bee Buddies!
The Bee Buddy Program is designed to care for and increase the population of native mason bees in Benton County. We loan nesting kits to gardeners and fruit growers who want to boost fruit yields and support native pollinators and their natural habitats. We make sure the bees are properly maintained during their life cycle, so Bee Buddies can reap the rewards without worrying about the details.
Who Can Be a Bee Buddy?
Public or private landowners in Benton County can participate. Bee Buddies is only open to people who use organic, pesticide-free practices. You may qualify to be a Bee Buddy if you have fruit trees, blueberries, or early blooming native plants, such as Oregon grape. To help cover the cost of materials, we charge a $30 participation fee.
How it Works
1. Submit an application by March 8. We will determine if your property meets a few minimum requirements, arrange a site visit, and size your nesting box accordingly.
2. Receive a nesting box. We will install a bee box at an approved location. The box will have a sign affixed with information about the project so that you can help educate the visitors to your garden.
3. The bees pollinate. Your bees will pollinate your crops mid-March through May and potentially double or triple crop yields!
4. We harvest cocoons. In June, BSWCD will collect your bee boxes, harvest, clean, and store the cocoons until the next active season, when you may reapply.
Simple Steps to Help Pollinators
- Avoid pesticides.
- Provide nest sites.
- Grow host plants like milkweed.
- Incorporate pollen and nectar plants.
- Keep some areas bare: mason bees need silty-clay mud.
- Tell others about these important creatures.