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“Bee Nurseries” Bring Back Pollinators
When father-daughter team Dan and Amelia Chiles became aware of the lack of native pollinators on their family farm, which includes orchards and gardens as well as native trees and plants, they decided to take action. To attract pollinators like mason bees and leaf cutter bees, they designed and built a bee nursery called the Beestra. What started as a project just for their own farm grew into a full fledged business with an online store and nationwide shipping.
    The Beestra is shaped a bit like a bird house, with tubes in a variety of sizes to attract a variety of pollinators, and it features an eye catching floral design on the outside. The screen on front keeps larger predators like birds and squirrels from eating the bees and bee larvae.
    The Beestra has an overhanging roof to divert rainfall away from the pods, and also has adequate ventilation to prevent excess humidity. Dan and Amelia work with a local manufacturer to get their materials, and then assemble the nurseries in their on-farm workshop for shipping.
    “ We designed this nursery to be as simple to assemble as possible. It takes less than 5 min. and just requires a screwdriver,” Amelia says. Each nursery comes with detailed photographic instructions, and costs $19.95, plus shipping and handling.
     “Customer feedback has been mostly positive. People enjoy the look of the Beestra and how easy it is to set up. Most people have success attracting bees but sometimes customers don’t get any,” Amelia says. “We encourage people to think of their nursery as an experiment to see how healthy their ecosystem is. If they have trouble attracting bees, most likely, there is a key component lacking in their ecosystem. This may be a sign that they need to plant more flowers, reduce the use of pesticides, or look into other sources of pollution nearby. The nurseries can’t attract any bees if they’re not there in the first place.”
    Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, BeeFoster, 1448 N. Chiles Lane, Bois D Arc, Mo, 65612, (ph 417-942-1816, info@beefoster.com, www.beefoster.com; follow on Facebook and Instagram).

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2020 - Volume #44, Issue #4