Have a question, feedback or an idea you want to share? This is the page. Scroll down to write a new comment and to view more (posted in chronological order).

The following comments & responses were made on other pages but have been moved here:

Økoko 2014/01/14

(re: Building Houses for Native Bees) posted this link to Insect Hotels

Laila Deangelo | 2012/01/29

(re: Tour the Bumble Domicile & more)

I cannot thank you enough for the blog. Really Wonderful.

Glen Ness | 2008/07/19

(re: Come visit the Pink Bee-Wasp Condo!)

Cool. Where do I get plans for the pink condo. I want to build one and specifically what is put inside to accomodate the wasps/bees etc.

Sarah Peebles | 2012 /10/27  

Please see the page Building Houses for Native Bees, where we’ve posted quite a few examples, including Prof. Hallett’s.

Helen | 2009/04/27

What a great site with terrific info. As a gardener, and because of the “bee” in my name, I feel a particular affinity to bees. I’d like to do a post on our Toronto Gardens blog, and link to your site. Are there any talks coming up for 2009 that I could mention?

Sarah Peebles | 2009/06/03

“Resonating Bodies” is not presenting any talks for 2009. I’m now working on amplification (acoustic and electronic) of solitary nesting bees/wasps for RB part II, next year. Thanks for posting on T Gardens blog!

Barbara Hyde Talbot | 2009/02/24

To all concerned with this project but especially Rob Cruickshank, my cousin!

Fascinating site! Wish I could have seen it all in person.

There was a wonderful “bee sculptor” exhibit in NY years ago, where the artist used wire armatures and bee food in glass boxes on the inside of a loft space/gallery with tubes going to the outside! The bees “sculpted” wonderful faces on the armatures, a living, breathing, kind of creepy site… naturally, city eventually shut them down because they considered the bees “dangerous animals”!!!

Good Luck!

sarah peebles | 2010/04/27

Thanks, Barbara! The artist you mention was likely the remarkable Aganetha Dyck, of Winnepeg, who worked extensively with honey bees until recently.

Christina Sharma | July 14, 2010

Hi There!

I just learned of your site via Dr. Packer.

Why is it important to include a microphone and vibration sensor in your pollination habitat/deluxe log?

I am involved in public education about migratory songbird and pollinator conservation. I have added a native woodland garden to mly property as well as logs, brush pile and downspout pond. I suspect that the bees overwinter in these places as well as in the stems of the shrubs. I have a green roof which looks wonderful now in bloom and abuzz with pollinators. I hope to have a photographer take pictures soon to raise awareness.

Please visit my website at http://www.projectchirp.com. I am looking to add photos to the green roof section later this month.

I would be happy to add a pollination station/deluxe log/plank to my property so that during my spring and fall educational garden tours, others may learn how to help these insects. Would that be possible?

All the best, Christina

Sarah Peebles | September 2, 2010

The vibrational sensor (transducer) acts as a microphone to connect the viewer with minute sounds of bees doing their thing: bringing pollen into their nest cavities and transferring it into a pollen ball, manipulating masicated leaves, mud or resin to seal nest cells, etc. – sounds too small to hear via a normal microphone but which transmit through wood nicely. In the case of solitary wasps, it’s packing in spiders and other species-specific prey as provisions on which they lay their egg, and, pack mud, grass, etc. to seal the cell.

Sight and sound work together to extend our perception in a very specific way – one is quickly and effectively drawn into the insect’s world, mesmerized and soon begins to identify with the insect. Sort of like the movie Microcosmos, but in person, real-time and directly physical. Hearing while seeing also enhances one’s ability to perceive what one is seeing – these experieces become very informative as well as a wondrous and beautiful.

We can make various sizes of audio bee booths or similar in a ‘deluxe log’ form for various types of venues as commissioned projects. I’d be happy to provide budget estimates and detailed information (sarah peebles at g mail dot com).

Alexander Moyle Eco-Sculptor Extraordinaire | August 27, 2010

I am completely on board. I like you work very much. I would like to send you one of my images called Auto Pollinator. This year I seeded my front with clover for the bees. There was a pretty good turn out. I have been focusing much of my attention on plants. Perhaps the bees and the plants could collaborate in a future exhibit. Please notify me of your next exhibit.


Sarah Peebles | 2012 /10/27

Alex and I got together a few times and contemplated new bee condo designs. He posted his truly ‘solitary’ bee condo at RB’s  Solitary Dream Homes (for Toronto Bees)’s Flickr Photostream within the set, small easy creations. Thanks, Alex!

bees4communities | September 15, 2010

Wow. This is incredible. I am founder of A.B.C- Apiaries and Bees for Communities in Calgary. I have been developing educational tools to teach people about honeybees and native bees. This interactive art project is fantastic! I would love to replicate something like this here in Calgary!

Fantastic. How long are you going to show this? Are they permanent installations?



Sarah Peebles | 2012 /10/27

Thanks to Eliese’s enthusiasm and vision, an Audio Bee Booth was collaboratively created for bees4communities in Calgary. You can read more here,  The Calgary Zoo (2011) and here, Audio Bee Booths.

Penn Kemp | 2008/07/17

(re:Bee Trading Cards)

and to add to the Buzz, this poem:

Wasps and bumblebees scheming for nectar
dip and swim through the haze, yellow and
black, carrying home their burden of pollen.

Seasons have their hues: ours is sun-steeped
translucence lit from within till it brims over.

Females dun beside their bolder mates, gold-
finch cross the sky in graceful loops of liquid

flight and song, sway on green fronds that bow
under light weight to the doctrine of signatures.

River carp leap and fall, rippling circles the stream.
Like calls to like through bright air before sunset.

Celebrating Ceres, celebrating Demeter, goldenrod
scimitars flash solid arabesques of late summer, late

afternoon, late in our lives for such luminous entrance.

Penn Kemp

Comments are open here.

21 thoughts on “Comments & Discussion

  1. Hi everyone I have been photographing Various Bees now for 3 years and I am truly concerned with what I see… I today took some photo`s and the Bees have No sack at all… When will we change….
    When it is to late ???

  2. Regarding Steve’s comment, I’m of the mind that a biodiversity of native pollinators, supported through careful habitat planning in conjunction with smaller scale agriculture (which can include honey bees, though on a much smaller scale than present), is our best assurance for future food security as well as a healthy biosphere in general. Co-evolution of plants and pollinators around the globe has already provided the most robust and dynamic situation (web of living things), and in a changing world, ‘the earth bats last’. Agribusiness and your pension fund planners may not agree with this perspective…

    BTW, I will likely not be able to respond much to this blog (time constraints), so if anybody has a specific comment for me – Sarah Peebles – best to email me my name (no dot) at g m a i l .

  3. Wow!
    I know about barcodes, but I never thought that DNA actually
    can be read like a barcode!
    I ever wondered how they identify DNA, thanks to your great post I´ve learned a lot.

    Thank you very much!

    1. Hi, Barcode Scanners. Thanks for checking out the Bee Trading Cards and their related pages, About colour-coded DNA barcodes and Bar-code Gallery. You can learn more from where these barcodes were produced: The Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD), and the excellent Canadian National Georgraphic article on its development and Canadian scientist Paul Hebert (March/April 2007 issue).

  4. I made a cob and stem “Bee Vase” in the summer and it was very successful. I have details about how to make one at the link above.
    I am pretty sure that some solitary bees overwinter in raspberry canes and in grape vines. If you see little holes in the ends, it is probably bees!
    Please tell all your gardening friends. They can still cut away the old canes, I think. Just bundle them somewhere dry and hopefully the bees will come out when it warms up next year. It would be cruel to compost little baby bees!

  5. Brain, that’s interesting. I like that design idea. If you live outside of Toronto, please post it to HHP (below); if you’re in T.O., please post it to SDH via instructions on the SDH page at this web site:

    Hymenopteran Housing Projects (an independant, international thing)

    SDH Flickr photostream of bee home creations (Toronto-based)

    Solitary Dream Homes (for Toronto bees)
    A grass roots initiative for the Greater Toronto Area and beyond

    Also, your comment regarding bees nesting in pithy stems etc is addressed in some detail in Laurence Packer’s new book ‘Keeping the Bees’ (see ‘resources’ page at this site). I wonder, though, if the little holes are actually bites taken by intruders – cuckoo bees or wasps.

    1. Hi, Brian here. I am not sure which little holes you refer too. I forget when and where I post sometimes. I think the pithy stem thing is something every gardener should be told. Many gardeners like bees.
      So letting them know that holes in the tops of raspberry canes are made by bees both puts them at ease (no need to spray the raspberrys!) and will make them want to bundle the canes to save the bee babies!
      I would encourage people to email their garden columnist in their local newspapers with that news.
      Thanks Brian.
      (I have not read the book).

  6. Inspiring work Sarah and friends! I am a volunteer with a high school that has a very proactive green team. We have just completed an outdoor classroom and are planning a native species garden next to this well used space. We want to install a Bee Condo in the garden. We have actually been calling it a Bee Nursery to try and appease those worried about this idea and to more accurately describe its purpose.

    As we plan to install the Bee Nursery on a pole in the garden on school property we need permission from our school board and of course insurance is a big issue. TRCA is assisting us, but we need to do further research to find an existing location that is in a public space and of course observed by children. There is one at the Toronto Zoo, and I have a call into the Toronto Island school (but I think I read on your site that this condo has moved to Hamilton?) Are you aware of any schools, anywhere in the world, who have installed a Bee Nursery in their school yard?

    Once established in our school garden, it is our intention to encourage outdoor ed centres and other schools to build and install one too. We are also looking for ideas on how to incorporate the Bee Nursery into a variety of curriculums. We hope to encourage other schools to come by and see our Bee Nursery. Including a webcam and a means to listen to the activity. Your site was very inspiring in that regard.

    Any suggestions you can offer to us on how to “sell” this to a school board would be much appreciated, in particular other public spaces and in particular schools would be great.

    Thank you Sarah

    Cheers, Gail Lawlor

    1. Gail, I’m part of a Toronto group called the Pollinator Gardens project (pollinatorgardens.blogspot.com). We began planting bee-friendly gardens in public and private places last year. This year I’m producing a guide for teachers about how to make these gardens – it will be ready in March. I’m being advised by this by several TDSB teachers but we haven’t put bee nests into schoolyards yet. We’d be delighted to work with you and TDSB to get some kind of higher-level approval.

      I’m also in touch with a researcher who is looking for sites to place bee nests around Toronto this spring.

      I’m clementk ( at sign) yorku.ca

      You might also check out the BC group http://lifecyclesproject.ca/initiatives/growing_schools/ who mention bee condos as part of their school gardens projects.

      Clement Kent

    2. Gail, this is a really intriguing and challenging question – i’ve invited a few colleagues of mine to respond with their feedback. I wonder which high school you’re referring to? . The Solitary Dream Homes page – on this site under ‘community’ – was created to aid in many of the goals you’ve expressed: ” building creative ‘houses’ for all species of native, solitary bees; plus web gallery exhibits of our creations”, and includes support materials and biology. If you’re interested in incorporating an audio bee booth or other amplified habitat installation for solitary bees into your project, i’d be delighted to do what i can to assist (details are in the ‘art’ pages on this site). I can be contacted via my name one word at sign gmail dot com. More thoughts soon…

    3. Gail, you may have a better idea of how to sell things to a school board than me.

      I’ll make the following top-of-mind suggestions.

      Bee booths are educational in a real-time, hands-on way that students would respond to. Creatures that zoom right by your many times a day without you noticing suddenly show up in the real world and you keep coming back to see what these little creatures do next. Biology and ecology, for that matter, exist outside of the classroom.

      If they don’t notice immediately you can make them notice by assigning them to monitor the booth. (This becomes especially fun if you build a listenable or observable bee booth like you’ve seen on the site.) Not only will students gain a unique education you’ll be able to offer proof of what they learned.

      You can probably even hook up with bee scientists at somewhere like York University, where you can find world experts on solitary and exotic bees who would love for schools and students to take an interest in their work.

      And finally – and this is probably crucial – tell them (you’ll have to repeatedly) that solitary bees and wasps DON’T STING. They have stingers and will use them to defend themselves but they are many times less touchy than honeybees or yellowjacket wasps. Social bee species feel power in their numbers as a group and have large food stores to defend from predators (like us!) so might sting whatever comes close to their home (although they don’t even sting much when foraging at flowers).

      Solitary bees and wasps don’t get bothered nearly as much as social bees so they tend to ignore strangers. You have to pretty much accost them physically to get stung. Even then, their stings tend to be very, very weak (look at the Schmidt Pain Scale, which the RB site links to).

      Members of boards to schools and other places generally think: bees! They sting children! Children go to hospital and we get sued!

      Come armed with pictures (from our site or elsewhere) of leafcutters, which are black and leathery, much different from honeybees, and mud dauber wasps, which are impossibly thin and frail-looking and say, “This is a leafcutter! It’s different! This is a mud dauber wasp! It’s not aggressive.”

      And then be ready to repeat yourself at the next meeting.

      And then remind them of the grade school students in England whose bee study ended up in a peer reviewed journal.

      Best of luck and I hope your efforts succeed.

    4. Gail, it’s wonderful to hear your intentions about school interactions, web cams, gardening and other objectives – glad this site has been useful and inspiring! I highly recommend the “bee city” photo from Zurich – see ‘bee houses around the world’ page.

      Two public spaces for bee houses / nurseries come to mind – though I don’t know your location in the city. There may still be a pole at the Franklin Children’s Garden on Toronto Island. Our ‘pink condo’ for solitaries was on top of that 8-ft pole in 2008-2009 [see ‘pink condo’ page, avec children]. This is a public space – run by the City of Toronto Parks and Recreation – had no issues regarding potential bee stings as of 2008. It had no social connection with the Island School, which was a few hundred feet away (still a mystery). The Island School had substantial issues with bee sting perception / parents, and would not host the condo. That ‘pink condo’ is now at the Royal Botanical Gardens; pls inquire at the Nature Centre for details. The second public space which comes to mind is The Evergreen Brick Works. The Toronto Zoo hosted my prototype Audio Bee Booth this past summer and successfully used it with some of their children’s’ camp programmes. [the audio bee booth page has their contact info]. They had no issues regarding bees stinging or potential stings.

      I do not know of any schools yet with bee condos/nurseries (though I wouldn’t be surprised if there are some in Europe). You may wish to field this question to xerces.org, or pollinator.org. There is, however, a great news article about a school yard with a hill full of ground-nesting bees which the kids play with every year: “Portland’s Sabin Elementary School Tickle Bees” [google it].

      There is a detailed and accurate note about bees and stinging at the bottom of the Audio Bee Booth page, and more at the Bee Biodiversity page. I hope your school board finds it useful. Everything on this site is posted in consultation with bee biologists listed on the front page.

      The Bee Trading Cards page offers a free-style approach to curriculum; also, free to contact me via email or phone [i’m in the book] for curriculum points, or, for contact details which are not available via the web.

  7. Just a note that soon people will be cutting back raspberry canes, and grape vines. Often bees will have burrowed into the tips of the canes and vines. It might be a good time to save them. I think you could bundle the canes in bundles of canes about 1 ft long and bees will not only leave the nest safely, but they will also have a good place to make their homes right beside where they leave.

    1. Brian lives in BC, where Spring is already beginning! For readers in Toronto or other parts of Canda you might want to check out our local pollinatorgardens.blogspot.com about when to cut and save your canes and vines. Other sources of information about this and other pollination-oriented subjects are listed at the sidebar to the right.

  8. Thank you everyone for your great suggestions and support. I will let you know the outcome of our request – we hope to hear very soon. Once we are set up and successful it is our intent to share this idea with outdoor ed centres and other schools.

  9. Gook luck with your project, Gail. Please do post photos of the completed bee ‘nursery’ via this blog’s Solitary Dream Homes page – it will be a great addition to our Flickr gallery!

  10. I’m with Pollination Guelph and am making bee houses for our annual Apr. Symposium.
    You’ve recomended the deepth of the holes be 3-4 in. for small bees & 5-6 in. for larger bees. I’ve heard that an 8in. hole is better as the shorter holes don’t account for the balance between male and female eggs. I heard that the female eggs are laid towards the back and the male eggs towards the front.This would be in a line from back to the front of the hole.
    What are your thoughts on this,?

  11. Hi, Vicki. That’s an interesting question. I put the depth and other paramenters for building solitary bee and wasp domiciles at our Solitary Dream Homes page – on this site, under Community – using information published by xerces.org. Since tunnel length is related to sex selection, and sex selection would seem to be an important aspect of bee nesting activity, let’s ask researcher Scott McIver from Laurence Packer’s wild bee lab at York University on his thoughts. Scott has created the excellent blog T.O. Bee (Toronto’s Wild Bees – tobee.ca), which addresses some of his Toronto-based research: “Species Diversity and Persistence in an Urban Landscape” and their “innovative analysis on urbanized bee and insect species in Toronto”. Check back here to see if Scott can give us his thoughts in the upcoming weeks.

    1. Hi Vicki and Sarah,

      Vicki: You might have already solved this issue by now, but I find a 15cm long tube is sufficient for many species. Too short and the entire nest will be more susceptible to being entirely parasitized and indeed, optimally a complete gallery (e.g. tube) contains both females (in the back) and males (in the front). Males up front because they are less costly to produce and therefore more expendable if a parasite encounters the nest. For printed material on the logic behind different designs, find two free .pdf’s online: Krombein (1968)’s Trap nesting wasps and bees, and Mader et al (2010)’s Managing Alternative Pollinators. I hope this is helpful. Please let me know if I can help with anything else.


  12. You can try a few things: 1. Near your bee home, place some locally-sourced fallen wood which might have insect bores (these might have already been re-used by solitary bees and/or wasps and contain the next generation), or, locally-sourced pithy stem; however, make sure this is very local stuff so as not to spread wood-born diseases. 2. Check to see if there is adequate forage nearby – flowers which offer adequate pollen and nectar (not all flowers do); cultivars don’t always produce adequate food for pollinators, as their traits change with cultivation. 3. Provide forage nearby which itself has pithy stems which are naturally used by solitaries for nesting – such as raspberry bramble. Good luck!

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