All we can say is, “Wow!” These are some gorgeous bee hotels. These bee resorts are handmade by Arthur of the Bees, founder of the Arlington Bee Initiative. Read the interview below to find out how you can own one of these beautiful, bee-loving abodes, starting at – if you can believe it – $5 for a small bee house! Arthur does this as a work of love. Proceeds go to making more bee hotels.SNV: What is the Arlington Bee Initiative?
Arthur of the Bees: The Arlington Bee Initiative is project aimed at enhancing the solitary bee population through affordable and sustainable housing. While more stores and organizations are filling the need for solitary bee housing and population enhancement, more often than not, it is cost prohibitive for most individuals, and many do not understand the dire importance of assisting solitary bee populations.
“We at the Arlington Bee Initiative seek to educate and provide assistance to the community for the enhancement of our local solitary bee population in cost effective and sustainable means.” – Arthur of the Bees
SNV: Why do people need to help pollinators now?
Arthur of the Bees: There is always talk in many garden groups and organic living organizations about honey bees, which is important, however often the most important and prolific pollinators of our gardens are not honey bees at all.
Honey bees prefer to pollinate trees, shrubs, and other hardy plants. It is the solitary bee that does the majority of pollination for our gardens, fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Solitary bees make up about 90% of the bee fauna, but have been susceptible to the same disease, chemical poisoning and collapse as the honey bees often talked about. Without a healthy bee population, both honey and solitary, the human population will find it harder and harder to grow food and enjoy the outdoors.
SNV: How do the bee hotels help?
Arthur of the Bees: The Bee Hotels assist the solitary bee population by giving safe dwellings that allow the solitary bees to create a home, foster offspring, and continue the cycle of life, all while providing the vital service of pollinating our environment. The hotels provide a stable living space that are attractive to many different species of solitary bees, that is free from damage from the elements, safe, secure, to encourage larger populations.
They give the solitary bees a “home base” that they will return to, and work locally, like locavores, to assist your gardening. It is a win win situation. We do our best to build the hotels out of reclaimed wood, bamboo, and other building materials to decrease the eco-load and promote sustainability.
SNV: What kind of bees do your bee hotels attract?
Arthur of the Bees: The solitary bees that come to our hotels are mason bees and leaf cutters, all non-stinging species of bees. Often a honey bee that has strayed too far from their hive will also stop over to rest or spend the night during inclement weather, but they are not normally permanent residents as the solitary bees are.
But the important thing to remember is these are non-stinging varieties. Wasps, hornets, or yellow-jackets are not attracted to these living spaces, as they prefer hive living. Carpenter bees and other varieties also do not like these living arrangements as it is too crowded for their likes.
SNV: How much does one of your bee hotels cost?
Arthur of the Bees: Hotels cost what it costs to build them, normally in the $5 to $15 range depending on the size and availability of materials. We do not have profits, as any money paid helps fund the materials needed to build the next bee hotel. In a way, our customers are paying it forward all around, to the bees, to their gardens, and to their neighbors who also support this initiative.
SNV: How can people buy a bee hotel from you?
Arthur of the Bees: The easiest way to place an order for a hotel is to visit our website arlingtonbeeinitiative.org and place an order! The time until you receive your bee hotel can vary depending on material availability, weather permitting, and other various factors.
Also, if you do not have the means, tools, or need help, we can help you install your hotel at no charge (maybe a cup of coffee).
SNV: How can people support the Arlington Bee Initiative? And how can people contact you?
Arthur of the Bees: You can help support the Arlington Bee Initiative by ordering one of the hotels, telling your friends, garden clubs, tweeting, and posting on social media about us. Via our website, you can also donate to the initiative.
We also look for support via other means as well, which include building materials. We strive to use reclaimed products as often as possible, as well as things like the
- branches trimmed from trees (2 inches or larger in diameter),
- locally sourced bamboo from overgrown stands,
- PVC pipe,
- and much more.
If you think you have materials we can use, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can let you know if it is something we can use!