There’s a new hotel in Loudoun County, but it won’t be one you will want to stay at. It’s actually a bee hotel — part of the JK Community Farm in Purcellville. The farm got a grant to build the hotel to try and help the bee population in the area.
Most farms and gardens are dependent on pollinators like bees to have successful crops, but declining honey bee populations have put farms and farmers everywhere at risk. The new bee hotel at the JK Community Farm will primarily be for what are known as “solitary bees” — such as mason bees, leaf cutter bees and orchard bees. They act as pollinators as well and the hotel will help increase their populations.
“These bees do not make honey, or live in a hive,” the team at the farm posted to its blog. “Solitary bees lay their eggs in small holes. These native bees are referred to as solitary bees because once the female mates, she is on her own. These bees do not have a hive structure or work as a team like honey bees. We have found that bee hotels can be as simple or elaborate as you want, but with our food and agriculture education programming, we were drawn to the large beautiful bee hotels.”
The bee hotel is roughly 6-foot by 6-foot and made with non-pressure treated wood. It includes an overhang to keep the bee nests dry. They hope the first guests will check in sometime later this spring or early summer. The JK Community Farm already has seven active honeybee hives on the property as well.
(At top: Volunteers Josh Powers (left) and Nathan Hughes (right) after they installed the farm’s new bee hotel at JK Community Farm.)