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Uploaded:2017-05-25
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Jessi and Squeaks are busy working in their garden, and they'd like to share one trick that keeps their plants happy!

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SOURCES:

https://www.peakprosperity.com/wsidblog/96145/mason-bees
http://crosscut.com/2013/04/seattle-backyard-mason-bees/
http://pacificabeachcoalition.org/diy-bee-house-recycle/
It’s almost summer where we live, and my garden is looking pretty nice, if i do say so myself.

And it looks like there are lots of bugs and birds who agree! Let’s see, we’ve got butterflies… hummingbirds… some ants… and look!

There’s a bee, busy gathering nectar! Do you remember what we learned about bees the other day, Squeaks? They collect the sweet nectar from flowers, and as they fly from flower to flower, they also do another important job!

They spread little fluffy pieces called pollen. When pollen from one flower gets into another flower, the plant can make more seeds to grow into new plants! So bees can be really important for plants to make new baby plants.

Which means they're great for keeping our garden healthy and growing! We want to attract even more bees to our garden, so we're going to build a bee house. And we can find most of the supplies we need in our recycling bin! (An animated book with a picture of the finished nest pops up) (Squeaks squeaks) What’s that, Squeaks?

It doesn’t look like a beehive to you? You’re right! It’s not a beehive.

A lot of bees do live in big hives, like this. These hives have lots of bees working together to collect food and make more bees. These kinds of bees build their own homes out of the wax they make from honey.

They lay their eggs in the hive to keep them safe. But there are also lots of bees that live on their own, instead of in a big group in a hive. The mason bee is a type of bee that lives on its own, and that’s the kind of bee we’ll be building a bee house for.

Mason bees are really common in the northern part of the world, like in North America, Europe, and Asia. So if you live in a place where there are mason bees, you can build a bee house for them, too! The house will give the bees lots of good hiding places to lay their eggs.

Normally, they look for holes in trees, or cracks in rocks, or anywhere they can squeeze into. Once they find a good hole, they gather nectar and store it in the hole, pollinating lots of plants along the way. Then they lay their eggs with the stash of nectar, seal up the nest with mud, and go out looking for another space to hide more eggs.

When the baby bees hatch, they eat the stored up nectar. The extra food helps them grow into healthy, strong adult bees. And in the spring, they chew through the mud and finally go out into the world!

Sometimes it’s hard for mason bees to find a place to lay their eggs, but a bee house is full of little tubes of paper, perfect for a bee to build its nest! [Squeaks squeaks nervously] Oh, don’t worry about that, Squeaks! Mason bees hardly ever sting, so as long as you don’t bother them, they probably won’t bother you. But some people are allergic to bee stings, so check with a grown-up before you build your bee house.

Here’s what you’ll need to build it: A clean tin can with the top cut off, a whole bunch of scrap paper, a pencil, tape, toilet paper rolls, glue, and some paint, if you want to decorate the can! First, decorate the can and let the paint dry. While it’s drying, cut your scrap paper so it’s a little shorter than the can, like this.

Roll up the scrap paper around a pencil. Try and wind each piece of paper around the pencil and least 5 times. The walls need to be thick so the baby bees stay warm over the winter.

Tape the paper, take it off the pencil, and then start wrapping the pencil with more paper. You’ll need about 30 little tubes of paper to fill the can. Once you have a lot of little tubes, cover the bottom of the can with some glue, like this, and put the two toilet paper rolls in.

The rolls are in there to keep the little tubes from rattling around too much. Fill in the empty space around the toilet paper rolls with tubes first. Make sure they stick really well in the glue and add more glue if you need too.

Then fill the rolls with even more tubes! Keep going until everything fits snugly, but the tubes aren’t squished together. Then, find a sunny spot, about 3 feet off the ground, to put your bee house.

Have a grown-up help you attach it really well to the spot you pick. You don’t want it to wobble around or fly away in the wind! Now, watch and wait for mason bees to move in!

If bees do start laying eggs in your bee house, you’ll probably see the paper tubes plugged up with mud, like this. That means there are baby bees inside, growing and getting ready to leave the nest in the spring! It’s very important that you don’t touch or move the bee house!

It’s dangerous for you and for the bees! If your bee house attracts some bees, next year your garden should be buzzing with lots of helpful critters! Thanks for joining us today, and thanks to Google Making Science for helping us make this episode.

Did you make a bee house of your own? We would love to see it! Leave a comment down below or send us an email to kids@scishow.com!

Thanks, and we’ll see you next time here at the Fort!