The Dawoodi Bohra community of Mississauga recently set into motion a “Save Our Bees” campaign to protect mason bees, a solitary bee species that are native to southern Ontario. Launched at the 51st annual Streetsville Founder’s Bread and Honey Festival from June 2nd to 4th, the campaign aims to counter the declining population of Mason bees in southern Ontario through the innovative concept of ‘beeyoot’ or ‘bee hotels’.
Volunteers from the community set up a stall at the festival to sell and promote the use of bee hotels. They sold over 50 bee hotels and organized activities to educate children about bee protection and conservation. The community also donated a bee hotel to the Streetsville Community Garden to support the preservation of bee pollinators. MP Rechie Valdez was present at the donation and appreciated the community for leading such environmental initiatives.
Revitalizing the Mason Bee Population through Innovative ‘Bee Hotels’
Mason bees, known as excellent and more effective pollinators than honeybees, have been facing a decline for the past few decades due to climate change, urbanization, habitat loss, and increased pesticide use. Unlike non-solitary bees, these bees do not dwell in hives and continuously spread pollen to flowers. The Bohras’ ‘beeyoot’, inspired by the Arabic word ‘buyuut’ meaning homes, provide these solitary bees with a safe haven against harsh weather conditions and predators, thereby helping in their population growth. Bee hotels, also known as bee condos and nest blocks, are nesting spaces for solitary bees, typically made of hollow straws, reeds or stems, or holes drilled in wooden blocks.
The Dawoodi Bohra community, valuing environmental stewardship, initiated the ‘Save Our Bees’ campaign as a part of the broader scope of their Project Rise initiative. The project aligns with the teachings of their spiritual leader, His Holiness Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, who urges community members to respect and care for the natural world. As the community commemorates the 80th birthday of His Holiness this year, they aspire to enhance their environmental efforts, thus aiding in the cultivation and preservation of local flora species and beyond.