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The bee

“Lose the grass mom.”

I heard this over and over from my then 14 year old. “It’s a desert that does nothing for biodiversity. And your geraniums are useless too.” I resisted and persisted with weedy grass full of dandelions for a couple more years until one spring my sister gifted me a native bee house from a local hardware store. “Cute” I thought as I propped it up against my deck railing and forgot about it. I knew nothing about native bees and thought they were the same as honeybees back then. Next spring rolled around and to my surprise I found a few of those bee tubes plugged with clay. “What’s that?” I asked my now 17 year old who had blossomed into a walking environmental encyclopedia. That’s when I learned about mason bees, leafcutter bees, sweat bees and the over 800 species of native solitary bees in Canada! I learned how they are such efficient pollinators and about their life cycle of laying eggs, leaving a pollen loaf for the larvae, plugging the cell with clay or leaf pieces and repeating till the tube was full. Amazed I watched new bees emerge, mate and immediately begin to nest in neighbouring tubes.

It dawned on me pretty quickly at that point that my daughter was right. I needed to lose the grass and turn my lawns into native gardens to help support these little guys. Over the last four years we’ve done just that, and my front yard is now full of Ontario native plants, bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, caterpillars, birds, fungi, milkweed and all sorts of mammals. We saw a weasel last week! Thank you Summer, for finally convincing me to get rid of our ‘lawn desert’ and replace it with native pollinators so that little bee would have a buffet to enjoy in this urban space.

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