If you happen to be strolling the grounds of the Watson Orange Warehouse, be sure to listen carefully for the sounds of the new additions to the Watson Fellowship Garden. This summer we have added three bee houses, a score of roses and over 250 bees, leafcutter bees to be exact. Leaf Cutter Bees, while they do not make honey, are gentle pollinators with mild dispositions that are hardy non-stop workers.
Watson purchased their bees from Crown Bees in Woodinville, Washington. Crown Bees sells native mason, leafcutter bees, and supplies for backyard gardeners and nurseries. Crown Bees also participates in an annual Bee Buyback program in the fall. This program encourages people to sell their extra cocoons back to Crown Bees so they can help farmers grow more food for more people.
We hope that we can improve and maximize pollination for more crops to donate to the Connecticut Food Bank and WHEAT of West Haven. The first set of leafcutter bees we released from Crown Bees have become well established and have moved into the three bee houses at across from the gardens. When we brought out the new bees the bees that we released the week before were in the area and followed the bag, interested in meeting the recruits. The bees are settling in. You can see them going in and out of the houses. We made sure they were facing south for morning sun, and we even planted rose bushes for them to make sure they had building materials. They seem very happy in our gardens. Here’s hoping for a plentiful crop and happy Lil’ buzzers to boot.