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Better ‘bee’-lieve it – hotels for bees

16 bee hotels installed across Canada

By Diego Flammini,

It’s no surprise to anyone to hear that bees are an integral part of agriculture. They are responsible for pollinating a large amount of the food people eat.

With the recent decline in colonies and the debate over whether to limit or simply ban neonicotinoids, pollinator bee health has become a hot button issue in the agricultural community.

In an effort to promote bee health and give them a place to rest and nest, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts are building 16 bee hotels throughout Canada.

"Solitary bees are a critical part of sustainable urban food production and habitat loss is a real impediment to bees' ability to pollinate much of the food that we rely on across Canada," said Jane Mackie, vice president, Fairmont Brand. "By building more than a dozen luxury bee hotels from coast to coast, we are doing our part to build a more sustainable world."

The hotels - constructed out of wood, twigs and soil, will house between 10 and 20 bees and will be placed in an area where the bees will have the opportunity do their important work – like the rooftop garden of Toronto’s Royal York.

"Bees need two things to make more bees – they need food in the form of flowers, and a place to nest – bee hotels, ground nests, and natural habitats," said Vicki Wojcik, research director of Pollinator Partnership. "If every Canadian household were to build a bee hotel, we would have close to 17 million new bee habitats. If each of these were used by one bee to make a nest for 10 baby bees, that's 170 million more native bees to pollinate our food and flowers."

Interested in building a bee hotel? There are many different instruction resources available including Grow Wild and Instructables.

The bee hotel program is part of WILD FOR BEES, an initiative that includes Burt’s Bees, Pollinator Partnership Canada, Sustainable TO Architecture + Building and Vancouver’s Hives for Humanity.

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