The Quarterly Buzz

Newsletter of the Native Bee Society of British Columbia October 2021

Volume 2 | Issue 3


Editors-in-chief: C. Thuring & M. Marriott

Contributors: Christine Thuring, Marika van Reeuwyk, Pat Holmes, Lori Weidenhammer, Josh Thompson, Cassie Gibeau

Fly Straight to Article:

Introducing: The Quarterly Buzz

Our New Newsletter Name

by Christine Thuring, Co-editor and NBSBC Secretary

We are so pleased to have a new name for the NBSBC quarterly newsletter! After our first five issues, it became clear that "Quarterly Newsletter for the Native Bee Society of BC" was quite a mouthful. We launched a contest and received numerous fabulous suggestions, including Anthophilings, The Nectar Enquirer, Buzz 4 BC Bees, The BC BeeLine, and BC Melittophiles. Many thanks to all who participated! The selection process involved the Board voting on their favourite 25 submissions, from which the top 3 were shared on social media for a vote from our followers/ membership.

Congratulations to Shira, who submitted the winning name, The Quarterly Buzz, and won a bumble bee nesting box! Shira currently lives in Calgary and is the driving force behind a new venture, The Urban Pollinator Project. This pollinator-focused advocacy project focuses on rewilding the Bow River riparian corridor and was one of over 100 proposals that made it to the finals of the Mayor's Innovation Challenge.


Christine Thuring is a founding board member of the Native Bee Society, and co-editor of the quarterly newsletter from its inception.

Annual General Meeting, Dec 2021

by Marika van Reeuwyk, NBSBC Vice President

It’s hard to believe our third year as a society is coming full circle! Our third Annual General Meeting will be held this December over Zoom. Stay tuned for the date and time.

If you’d like to get involved with the Society, now is a great time to start thinking more about this. Committee volunteers are welcome any time. Board members must be nominated; nominations can be sent via email by Dec 1st.

As ever, our AGM will feature stimulating talks to offset the formalities. Taxonomist and founding board member, Lincoln Best will tell tales of “Weird Wild Bees of BC”, which will appeal to novice and experienced bee enthusiasts alike. As well, founding board members Lori Weidenhammer and Tyler Kelly will share some of the exciting insights and most brilliant submissions they’ve observed on Bee Tracker, a project they’ve initiated on iNaturalist (recall our feature about this in our Summer newsletter). We’ll also provide an overview of upcoming events this fall in Metro Vancouver and the Kootenays.

Seeds to Bees Winter Workshop Series

The Native Bee Society of BC is excited to host a series of workshops this winter related to planting for pollinators. From home gardening to native plant propagation to restoration, learn from experts in the field about different ways you can support pollinators in your community!

Workshop 1: Beginner Seedy Skills for BC Bees

Basic Seed Saving and Growing Tips for Plants that Support Native Bees in Your Garden

Image 1: Agapostemon sweat bee on a cosmos flower. Image 2: Andrena prunorum on buckwheat at UBC Farm. Photos: Lori Weidenhammer

In the first workshop in this series, Lori Weidenhammer, aka Madame Beespeaker, will share fun tips on how to get hooked on saving and growing seeds for plants that provide bees with pollen and nectar. These are empowering skills that can save you money and fill you with the joy of helping create gardens that increase biodiversity. In order to be a successful seed saver and grower, you need to know about the basics of pollination, and which plants are best for saving our BC native bees. Learn how to help bees (along with butterflies, birds, and other critters) by growing plants that a generous seed producers, so you can share them with your friends and family.

Date and time: Thursday, Oct 28, 7:00 pm Zoom link (if you need a call-in number, please email us:


Lori Weidenhammer is a founding member of the NBSBC. She has been fascinated with seeds ever since she was a child in her mother’s prairie garden. She is the author of Victory Gardens for Bees: A DIY Guide to Saving the Bees published by Douglas and MacIntyre. As a food security volunteer and activist, Lori works with students of all ages on eating locally and gardening for pollinators. Lori is originally from Treaty 6 Territory in Saskatchewan the original lands of the Cree, Saulteaux, Dene, Dakota, Lakota, Nakota and the homeland of the Métis Nation, and is grateful to live and work in unceded territory of the Coast Salish nations. Lori's web site is Victory Gardens for Bees (

Follow Lori on Instagram @beespeaker

Workshop 2: Native Plant Propagation Techniques

by Joshua Thompson from Plan Bee Native Plants

Native plants are crucial to restoring ecosystems and for supporting native bees as well as all life unique to our part of the world. Learn about the different techniques involved with growing and getting different species of native plants to germinate from seed.

Date and time: TBA Access to the workshop will be shared via social media and an email to our members

Workshop 3: Restoration for Pollination

by Valerie Huff, MSc of Kootenay Native Plant Society & KinSeed

Plant-pollinator mutualisms are a critical ecosystem function that sustain natural habitats and support the food web in terrestrial ecosystems. Pollinators, mainly insects, transport pollen among flowers to ensure the production of viable seed, sustaining native plant communities. Interest is high in supporting these plant-insect interactions through establishing native wildflower meadows. In this webinar, Val will describe how the Kootenay Native Plant Society approaches the question of “What should I plant for pollinators?” in a restoration context. She will guide you through how KNPS developed theirr list of priority plants for the Pollinator Pathway Climate Adaptation Initiative in the Lower Columbia region of British Columbia and provide practical examples and tips for regional restoration interests.

Date and time: TBA Access to the workshop will be shared via social media and an email to our members.

Caring for Cavity Nesters

Strategies and learnings from a seasoned wild bee caretaker

by Pat Holmes


I first met Pat Holmes through my friend and fellow NBSBC Board Member, Martina Clausen when I was looking for some locally sourced bee cocoons to populate a bee hotel built by youth in a program I was leading. Martina connected me with Pat, and I was excited to learn she has a thriving garden and cavity-nesting bee set-up in her backyard in North Vancouver. Pat’s homegrown oasis attracts many diverse wild bees, invertebrates, birds and wildlife. A large population of bees from the Megachilidae family have taken up residence in her homemade bee houses, including mason bees (Osmia spp., her most common residents), leafcutter bees (Megachile spp), and wool carder bees (Anthidium spp).

Pat has been stewarding cavity-nesting bees in her backyard for over a decade. Through research, learning and practice she is constantly trying to better her techniques to minimize time and increase bee health and survival. It's been a welcome gift to exchange learnings with someone who has been working in relationship with cavity nesters for so long. Pat also joined the Native Bee Society of BC membership when we established in 2019!

Pat’s bees came from the wild - she set up some homes and they just moved in. Her husband Andrew kept having to build her more and more homes and cavities to keep up with her growing population. Today, Pat tends to over 1000 cocoons annually between her home residence in North Van and her cabin on Hornby Island. She keeps about 200 at each place then gifts the rest to EYA and other local people interested in starting up their own cavity nesting bee establishments.

Now is the time of year that those of us managing cavity nesting bee homes need to put in the work to mitigate parasitisation and disease, so I asked Pat to share some of her tried and true learnings and techniques with us.

-- Marika van Reeuwyk, NBSBC Vice President

Caring for cavity nesters: strategies and learnings from a seasoned wild bee caretaker

Images: Bee Houses in North Vancouver, Pat Holmes, Bee Houses on Hornby

A year in summary: managing cavity-nesting bee houses

Although cavity-nesting bees are easy to manage, some work is required to keep them healthy and able to continue their valuable work of pollination. Their life cycle allows for flexibility when it comes to cleaning their cocoons and setting up their space for the next year.

Cavity-nesting bees hatch in the spring, usually late March or early April and are mostly finished by mid June. They prefer their houses to be on an east or south facing wall, they need access to flowers of some description and soil