Bee hotels move into our area

May 17, 2017 08:05 PM

Cornell PHD student Kaitlin Deutsch is on a mission to save bees, one box at a time.

Her primary focus isn't on honey bees, but rather solitary bees that are native to our area and play an important role in local farming. It's also a species she says not many have focused their research on.

"Some of the bees I'm expecting to nest here are mason bees and leaf cutter bees and both of them are very important in agricultural pollination, they're very important in pollinating fruits, vegetables and alfalfa,” said Deutsch.

Kaitlin and her friend have been busy installing the boxes in areas away from human impact, like parks, in an effort to best determine what diseases and factors are killing the bees off. The bees will hopefully be attracted to the bamboo in the box and lay an egg.

“Those tubes, those nests, they don't emerge from until next summer, so they spend a whole year developing from an egg to a larva and finally emerging as an adult bee,” said Deutsch.

Kaitlin will then take the bees and freeze them so she can further dissect and research. But, despite Canandaigua City Council’s overall approval of the nest last week, some members like Anita Twitchell have their concerns.

“I think that killing off more bees is not a good idea, it's just not an option right now,” says Twitchell, “not a single bee needs to die just so we can study their patterns.”

Kaitlin disagrees. She says she hopes her research can lead to creating a way to better protect these pollinators.

"I'm not killing bees willy-nilly, it's very purposeful and I hope to have results that will justify the death of individuals but for understanding at the level of the population,” said Deutsch.

Kaitlin plans to put up nine more boxes in the Rochester area later this week. They'll go up in places like Mendon Ponds Park and Wickham Farms in Penfield

She'll take down all of the boxes in the Fall to continue research.

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Brianna DiPilato

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