Antigonish Farmers Market Produce Growers

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by Michael Dickson

I have a few thoughts that have popped into my head since my last blog and I was thinking this is a great chance for me to get them out there. It’s been a very rough June for the produce growers at the Antigonish Farmers Market due to the overwhelming amount of frost that they have had to deal with. It takes a ton of work to recover from the amount of damage that mother nature has dealt out to our farmers, which is why the Farmers of the market are the focus point for my blog post this week.

Why is it so important that we continue to support the farmers during this trying time? The question pretty much answers itself to be honest but here it is: The amount of money that is being lost due to these frosts is huge. It directly impacts the farmers ability to make a living, which of course directly impacts our community as we are losing out on the high quality fresh local foods that we love to eat! So make sure you get out to show your support to our local farmers at the Antigonish Farmers Market.

To this end, I would like to highlight the primary producers of the Market:


Casey’s Vegetables

Casey’s farm is a huge supporter of the Market, from being one of the most popular vendors that we have, Casey brings a wide variety of products to the market every year and Casey himself has been at the market for over 8 years, he is well known and he is a man of the people, so make sure to stop by the market and say hello to the team.

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Penner Family Farm

Leonard Penner and his family farm are a growing vendor at the market. They consistently bring a wide selection of fresh produce to the market and nothing seems to dampen the spirits of Leonard or his kids as they sell outside the market barn in the rain or sunshine! The dedication to the local lifestyle is unwavering and as a result the support for his farm and products is overwhelming.

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Overmars Gardens

You want to talk about a dedicated farmer, Michael is one of the biggest personalities that we have at the market. A commitment to freshness and quality is one of the reasons that his business is continuing to grow and will without a doubt continue to be a success story at our market.

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Lochaber Growers Cooperative

It’s very hard to talk about amazing personality without bringing Bonnie into the conversation. Bonnie is at the market representing the Lochaber Cooperative every weekend with a positive attitude, a great smile and a commitment to freshness, and serving our community. The Cooperative is made up of an amazing group of farmers that bring a little bit of everything to the market which results in a very impressive selection of great farm fresh foods.

Lochaber growers cooperative country parent


Forever Green Farms

It is impossible to discuss producers at the market without including the Forever Green Farm. They are one of the largest producers that the market has. With a massive selection of meats and vegetables, which continue to make them one of the most popular vendors that we have at the Market. They cook at the market every weekend and the smell of their farm fresh foods cooking on the grill is enough to make anyone hungry! Well worth stopping by to say hello to and pick up some delicious farm fresh food.

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Seabright Gardens

Seabright Gardens brings a commitment to local first to a whole new level. They care about the environment and as a result of their passion, it translates out to incredibly fresh, high quality, delicious farm fresh foods. A chance to stop by and say hello and check out their amazing selection is well worth it.

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The Bethany Growers

They are all about local, high quality, fresh, delicious produce. The produce that they bring to the market is some of the most popular that comes through the doors. They have great knowledge of their produce and know how to grow it to ensure the highest quality. Well worth stopping by and seeing what they have to offer each week as the growing season comes into full swing.

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Well folks that’s all I have for this blog post! I would like to thank everyone that comes out to support the market, and our vendors. Feel free to stop by our website and see all of our vendors, latest news and how we are making out on fundraising for our new Barn! Remember we can be found on Facebook at Antigonish Farmers Market Association and on Instagram @Antigonishfarmersmarket. As always if you have any questions, concerns or general comments do not hesitate to reach out to me at or by calling (902)867-7479.


Mike Dickson Antigonish

Michael Dickson, Antigonish Farmers Market Manager

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World Oceans Day Event 2018 Highlights

volunteers world oceans day 2018 antigonish stfx


We celebrated the 5th annual World Oceans Day event this weekend and it was fantastic! A whopping 1098 people attended. Kids and adults were able to interact with students, staff and faculty from the StFX Biology department to learn about marine biodiversity and explore the touch-tanks.



A huge THANK YOU to all the volunteers, presenters and special guests who made this event possible.


Here are some of the highlights:


world oceans day stfx antigonish 2018 entranceElizabeth Wallace greeted the public at the main entrance with a smile and directed traffic like a pro!


 antigonish 2018 NS salmon associationNick MacInnis from the Nova Scotia Salmon Association (NSSA) and Kris Hunter also from NSSA and Sr. Lab Instructor of the StFX Biology dept. talked to the public about the on-going projects the NSSA is working on.


world oceans day event 2018 stfx antigonish human nutritionDr. Jennifer Jamieson from the Human Nutrition dept. explained the health benefits of omega-3s found in fish and shellfish, as well as the importance of purchasing certified sustainable seafood.


world oceans day stfx antigonish 2018 DFO 2Grace Campbell from the Department Fisheries and Oceans talked about the importance of managing the fisheries in the Maritimes.


world oceans day 2018 stfx antigonish birds studies canada piping ploversBrenna Martell informed the public about the work Bird Studies Canada is doing to conserve the piping plover population.


world oceans day stfx antigonish 2018 sydney coast guard college nova scotiaJoey Lever from the Sydney Coast Guard College gave people a glimpse of some of the marine engineering and navigation programs they offer and the important work they do in safeguarding our waterways.


world oceans day stfx antigonish 2018 erswm 1Nicole Haverkort from the Eastern Region Solid Waste Management motivated youth on preventing plastic pollution and encouraging solutions for a healthy ocean starting with proper waste management and diversion.


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world oceans day stfx antigonish 2018 dolphinDr. Justin Gregg educated the public on the ever-fascinating dolphins and their complexe communication systems.


world oceans day stfx antigonish 2018 joke adesolaDr. Joke Adesola educated the public about striped bass aquaculture, farming potential, its local and global importance as well as how people can get involved.


world oceans day stfx antigonish 2018 aquatic resourcesDr. Lynn Patterson from the StFX Aquatic Resources talked about the ever-growing interdisciplinary program which involves everything related to our water; environment, sustainability, conservation of biodiversity, climate change, and public policy development, to name a few.


world oceans day stfx antigonish 2018 seaweedDr. David Garbary, an expert in seaweed at the StFX Biology dept., educated youth on the importance of seaweed and gave the public an eye-full of the vast diversity of local seaweed, which can often be overlooked when strolling nearby beaches.


world oceans day stfx antigonish 2018 odditorium 2Aneal and Lisa Virick came all the way from the Sydney Odditorium to showcase their very impressive collection of prehistoric bones, fossils, rocks and amazing unique treasures!


world oceans day stfx antigonish 2018 odditorium penguinThe Sydney Odditorium’s Benedict penguin was part of the display too.


world oceans day stfx antigonish 2018 odditorium mosasaurusMosasaurus and Plesiosaurus jaws, bones and fossils were also on display.


world oceans day stfx antigonish 2018 puffer fish


world oceans day stfx antigonish 2018 microscopes Grad student Emil Jurga talked about the importance of plankton and various microorganisms that represent the first link in the food chain.


world oceans day stfx antigonish 2018 microscopes


world oceans day stfx antigonish 2018 touch tankUnderdrad student Sydney Silver encouraged youth to hold and touch interesting marine organisms housed in one of the touch-tanks, including this pink sea anemone.


sea anemone world oceans day stfx antigonish 2018


world oceans day stfx antigonish 2018 crabsUndergrad student Jayden Marion educated youth about a variety of crabs, including decorator crabs, rock crabs and the invasive species of green crabs.


world oceans day antigonish 2018 stfx sting rays 3Undergrad student Breton Fougere educated people about stingrays, skates and their fascinating life cycle.


world oceans day antigonish 2018 stfx sea urchins

Undergrad Lia Blakett talked about the anatomy and behaviour of local and tropical sea urchins.


world oceans day stfx antigonish 2018 sea starsUndergrad student Aaron Cogger encouraged youth to hold and learn about seastars, their habitat, behaviour and unique water vascular system.


world oceans day stfx antigonish 2018 lobstersGrad student Ella Maltby shared her knowledge about local lobsters and encouraged youth to touch these juvenile lobsters.


world oceans day stfx antigonish 2018 fossilsUndergrad student Austin Farrell educated youth about extinct marine molluscs and helped kids make their own fossil prints of trilobites and ammonites.


world oceans day stfx antigonish 2018 craftsAt the craft station, Katie Kirkham and Michelle Hodgson were busy throughout the event helping kids make colourful ocean themed crafts.


world oceans day stfx antigonish 2018 face paintingUndergrads Danny MacDonald, Katrina Ferrari, vet school student, Veronica Ells, and high-school student Madalynn Proctor did an amazing job at the face painting station!


world oceans day stfx antigonish 2018 hennaNadia Tarakki did beautiful intricate ocean themed designs at the Henna tattoo station.


world oceans day stfx antigonish 2018 blue sharkBiology Lab Instructor Katelyn MacNeil, with undergrads Erin Samson and Amy Graham who were in charge of educating the public about this show-stopping two meter blue shark, which will be used in the comparative anatomy course lead by Mr. Randy Lauff, Sr. Biology Lab Instructor and curator.


world oceans day stfx antigonish 2018 presentersThis year’s presenters and special guests were: (from the left) Joke Adesola, Joey Lever, Jessica Haverkort, Nicole Haverkort, Justin Gregg, Lynn Patterson, Brenna Martell, David Garbary, Grace Campbell, Aneal Virick, Stella Virick, Lisa Virick, and Jennifer Jamieson. Missing from picture: Kris Hunter and Nick MacInnis


world oceans day stfx antigonish 2018 volunteersAnd finally all the volunteers who helped make the event possible: from top left; Lia Blakett, Aaron Cogger, Katrina Ferrari, Jayden Marion, Emil Jurga, James Millar, Kayleigh Trenholm, Amy Graham, David Garbary, Elizabeth Wallace, Erin Samsom, Veronica Ells, Katelyn MacNeil, Austin Farrell, Breton Fougere, Nadia Tarakki, Ella Maltby, Michelle Hodgson, Reg Cozzi, Katie Kirkham, Madalynn Proctor, Sydney Silver and Danny MacDonald. Missing from picture: Leah Rogers and Jennifer Van den Heuvel, who helped tremendously with the displays and setup!



world oceans day stfx antigonish 2018 jellyfishLocal jellyfish, one of many marine organisms housed in the touch-tanks, brought in by Dr.Russell Wyeth and Michael Gerhatz.

world oceans day stfx antigonish 2018 people

I hope everyone had a great time!  😀


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Antigonish Farmers Market New Building

vegetables antigonish farmers market

by Michael Dickson

Hello Everyone! If you haven’t heard yet the Antigonish Farmers Market is growing and we need your help. We currently have $211,572.15 of our goal of $700,000. We recently held a very successful Gala fundraiser which consisted of amazing food donated by our very generous vendors, entertainment of the highest quality from local musicians with unrivaled passion for performing and of course the community that came out to show support to the Farmers Market and the local businesses that they love so much!


The support from the community has meant the world to the Board members of the Antigonish Farmers Market and to the vendors who’s business has continued to grow. We are so excited with how the fundraising is going and are inspired to work even harder to make this new building become a reality for everyone. We are also working on something very exciting for when the Special Olympics make their way to Antigonish.


Why is this new building such an important project for the community?

The amount of customers that the market has seen this year has grown so much over previous years that in order to effectively serve the consumers we need to expand! We need:

♦ More space for new and exciting vendors to serve the customer base that has been constantly growing

♦ A year-round Market for everyone and a second market day during the week to support the amount of people that we have coming into the market!



Michael Overmars, Overmars Garden


marthas new garden

Mac Brown, The Martha’s New Garden


♦ To remain the hub for healthy eating and to support local producers which will benefit not only the overall health and wellness of the community, but will help the Market to serve as an incubator for more small businesses. This will in turn encourage the development of more small farms, local artisans and food vendors to provide the community with products of the highest quality.



Angela Bowles, Food Matters Catering


cupcakes wild flour bakery

Wild Flour Bakery


♦ A provincially inspected, commercial kitchen available for a broad-based community usage to help support projects outside of the market. And of course with adding all of these positive things together, the economical impact this new building will bring is going to be massive.


With additional focus being put on the economy, it is now important more than ever to support home. With a growing number of people leaving, we need to do more to encourage people to stay here in our humble community of Antigonish, and being the number one Farmers Market in Nova Scotia is one of the best ways to not only create more local jobs to support people living in our community, but we will also continue to support a healthier lifestyle for everyone!


antigonish farmers market produce

Seabright Gardens


How can you donate to make this building a reality?


♦ You can click on this image:

antigonish farmers market

♦ Or go to, then click on the Donate tab at the top of the page.

♦ You can donate in person at our Farmers Market on Saturday from 8:30 to 1pm.

♦ You can also contact the market manager Michael Dickson by email at or call at 902.867.7479.

antigonish farmers market new building

Show your support, Like us on Facebook at Antigonish Farmers Market Association and Instagram @Antigonishfarmersmarket


Thanks again everyone for supporting your local Antigonish Farmers Market!

Mike Dickson Antigonish

Michael Dickson, Antigonish Farmers Market Manager

Thrifty Alternatives To Bristled BBQ Brushes For A Safe Summer

meat bbq

Finally getting some warm weather!

First thing that comes to mind, beside gardening, is barbecuing!  Like most people, we noticed a couple of years ago that our wire BBQ brushes were losing their bristles. I remember scrubbing the grates, barbecuing burgers, then noticing that tiny wire bristles were stuck on the cooked meat!

If ingested, these tiny wires can cause quite some damage to the throat, or worse, travel down the digestive tract, resulting in a lot of pain and even requiring surgery to remove the bristles. The number of reports and warnings were rapidly increasing throughout 2016, and this was still an issue last year!

“…small wire bristles fall off and attach to food on the grill, …” (full article: BBQ brush bristles can lodge in throat, warns ER doctor, CBC NEWS Nova Scotia).

The solution? If you own a wire BBQ brush, get rid of it! – for now at least, or until the new regulations come into effect (New standards coming for BBQ brushes following metal bristle injuries).


And although bristle-free brushes can be purchased at any grocery store, here are some more economical alternatives:

Scouring pads

Scouring pads are inexpensive, durable and reusable. They can safely be used to scrub any debris off the grates before barbecuing.

scouring pads

Damp cloth

A damp cloth with a bit of baking soda can go a long way. This method requires a bit more muscle power when scrubbing the deposits off the grates, but it works.

damp cloth


Yes, onions. You can cut an onion in half, then use it to scrape the grates. Although this might not clean as efficiently as the two previous options, it will remove some of the deposits and will give an extra added touch of flavor to your grilled food.


In any case, avoid using wire bristled brushes, as the wires can easily fall off during scrubbing and end up in your food.

Safe BBQing! 😎


all cleaning alternatives

Antigonish Mother’s Day Gift Guide 2018

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Browse through the Antigonish Mother’s Day Gift Guide for local gift ideas for Mother’s Day!






Enter the draw for a chance to win one of these amazing prizes:

♦ $100 voucher for a photo session by John David Photography

♦ $25 gift card by Cameron’s Jewellery

♦ 4 Tickets to the Cape Breton Air Show by Celtic Air Services!

See details at the end of the gift guide.


To view the gift guide, click on the Image below or click here for the PDF version.


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World Oceans Day 2018 Sneak Peek

world oceans day stfx 2018

The StFX Biology Department will be hosting their 5th Annual World Oceans Day 2018 on June 9!

World Oceans Day, a global ocean celebration, promotes Ocean awareness through exploration, education, conservation, initiatives and beach clean-ups around the world.

This year’s theme is: Preventing plastic pollution and encouraging solutions for a healthy ocean.

What to expect?

There will be lots to see and do during the event. Be prepared to touch unusual sea critters, interact with the presenters and learn about local and tropical marine organisms.

There will be displays of preserved specimens (including whale bones, sting rays, cuttlefish, octopus) and many live microorganisms including sea anemones, sea urchins, sea stars, a variety of crabs, and our famous blue lobster!

Also on the list, a sea-weed station, make-your-own fossil print station, face painting, ocean themed crafts, and much more.

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Participating Organizations & Special Guests

♦  StFX Aquatic Resources Dept.  

♦  StFX Human Nutrition Dept.

♦  Bird Studies Canada

♦  Department of Fisheries and Oceans

♦  Canadian Coast Guard

♦  Nova Scotia Salmon Association

♦  Eastern Region Solid Waste Management

♦  The Sydney Odditorium

…Stay tuned, as we will be adding more to the list!

Antigonish World Oceans Day 2018 poster

See you there!

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Hike it Baby Antigonish

Hike it baby Antigonish


by Kendra MacEachern

I’m a new mom to an 8 month old and I love hiking, so back in the Fall I started a hiking group for parents and their kids. I was going for walks and hikes with my baby every morning but it was getting lonely. I was hoping to meet more parents like myself who wanted to get outside with their kids.



We started in the Fall and went on walks to the Keppoch, Beaver Mountain, Bethany and around town. I recently changed the group to Hike it Baby which is an international community of parents who hike with their kids. I decided to go ahead with the Hike it Baby because the community already has loads of resources for getting outside with kids and they also publish stories of other parents and their journeys to getting outside. I found it very helpful and inspiring to be part of bigger community because although getting outside and hiking has practically always been a big part of my life, doing it will a baby was scary.

Hike it baby 1


About the group

Hike it Baby Antigonish is group dedicated to connecting families to nature with birth to school age children. It’s a branch of a non-profit US-based organization which is getting families outside all over the world.

Although dedicated to children ages 0-5, we welcome all ages. We also welcome all caregivers. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, anyone with kids! Don’t worry if you need to nurse or change a diaper on the trail, we don’t leave anyone behind. It’s a supportive environment and open to all ability levels.

Hike it baby 2

The hiking trails

Our favourite trails are the Bethany Contemplative trail, Beaver Mountain and the Keppoch. We have at least one hike a week. Every Tuesday, we meet at Keppoch from 10:00am-12:00pm. We meet in the lodge and decide which trail to do together. As the weather warms up and ice finally goes away expect to see extra hikes throughout the week!

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hike it baby antigonish 3

Hike it Baby 30: a new challenge

Hike it Baby 30 is a quarterly challenge to help motivate families and communities to get out and hike for 30 miles in 30 days or 30 minutes 3 times a week. This can be done with or without Hike it Baby!
We will have a hike at least once a week at Keppoch on Tuesdays. Others will be added throughout the week this month!

Check out Hike it baby 30 for more details.
**Since Canadians do not pay a membership fee there is no free challenge. Also, many of the prizes awarded are to US participants. International participants still have a chance to win, but from a smaller selection which do not have shipping restrictions.


Hike it baby 3


Become a member of Hike it Baby! Anyone can host hikes! Click here to find out more and join us on Facebook.


See you out there!


hike it baby antigonish 2

Stephanie Monaghan, Hike it Baby Antigonish Coordinator


Hike it baby 4

Kendra MacEachern, Hike it Baby Antigonish Coordinator

Easy Summer Flatbread Pizza

flatbread pizza


Summer BBQing is one of our favorite things to do. This recipe is a fresh take on traditional pizza using store bought flatbread and garden herbs.

It’s simple to make and you can put your own spin on it.




1 PC original flat bread

2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

1 diced tomato

1/4 cup sliced olives

1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs (I used oregano, thyme, parsley, mint and basil)



Brush the flatbread with the olive oil on both sides

flatbread with oil

Place flatbread upside-down on BBQ and cook for 2 minutes

Flip it over

bbqed flatbread

Add tomatoes, feta, olives and herbs on top


BBQ for another 2 minutes

Drizzle a bit of olive oil on top.


toppingscloseup flatbread pizza




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Have You Tried Fiddleheads?

Brownstone Cafe Beet Salad

4 Quick & Easy Hummus Dips

Gearing Up For World Oceans Day!

World oceans day logo


June 8 is World Oceans Day, a global ocean celebration marked by special events, exploration, awareness, education, conservation, initiatives and beach clean-ups.

This year’s theme is: Our Oceans, Our Future.



For the last three years the St. Francis Xavier University Biology Dept. has been hosting World Ocean Day events for the community. This year marks our 4th event!

On June 11 the department will open its doors for a few hours to showcase the marine touch-tanks to the public. This is a wonderful opportunity to discover and learn about marine biodiversity.

There will be much to see and ‘touch’! We promise, you won’t be disappointed 😀

So, save the date on your calendars and join us this summer. Your kids will LOVE it!


WORLD OCEANS DAY 2017 poster

This event has been registered with the World Oceans Day organization.


Click HERE for updates on activities and participating special guests 😉

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DIY Mason Bee Hotels

mason bee

The majority of our food crops benefit from pollinator bees, however the decline of these insects continues to be a huge concern.

There are many types of pollinator bees. Most common ones are honey bees, bumble bees and orchard mason bees.

Mason bees, named after their masonry skills for nesting in wood cracks and crevices, are active from early spring to late summer in our region. Although these solitary, non-stinging bees do not produce honey or beeswax, they are excellent pollinators.

You can encourage their pollinating habits by hanging mason bee boxes in your garden this spring. Mason bee homes or kits can be purchased from any garden store. However, you can turn this into a fun kids project and make your own mason bee hotel. All you need are some nesting tubes and a container.

Here are three easy DIY mason bee nest projects to get children involved with their environment and interested in helping the bees.

Birch bee hotel

Birch trees shed their outer bark at the end of winter. This is the perfect time to collect the excess bark and use it as nesting material.

birch treeGently cut the excess bark off the tree without damaging it.

barkTo make the nesting tubes, cut the bark into 7″ wide pieces…
7 inch bark…then cut off the curled ends to get a straight edge on either side.

cut peelIn most cases the bark consists of two plies and can be separate into two pieces to double the amount originally collected.
two pliesNext, with a pencil (or thin dowel) roll the bark peel into a thin tube. A pencil is the perfect size for this step, as it provides the right size diameter for the nesting tunnel.
curling into tubeSecure the tube with clothes pins and set aside for 24 hours. This will allow for the birch peel to keep its tunnel shape.
secured tubepined peelRemove clothes pins the next day.
rolled tubesTime to assemble the bee hotel. The nest frame can be of any shape. You can use empty tin cans or purchase 5″ to 8″ deep wooden boxes from the dollar store.
Side note: Make sure the back side of the chosen box is closed. If not, you can always add a piece of wood to close it yourself.
boxesAdd the nesting tubes into the wooden box. Push them all the way to the back while tightly stacking them on top of each other.
birch nest
Decorate the nest box with colourful trinkets. We decided to decorate our mason bee hotel with fresh moss, stick-on flowers and rhinestones. Simple designs and, to a certain extent, colours help the bees locate their own nesting tunnels.
birch nest decor

birch bee nest

Bamboo bee hotel

A quicker way for making a mason bee nest, is to use 6′ long bamboo poles. They are inexpensive and can be purchased at the dollar store.bamboo polesbamboo sticksCut the bamboo poles with a saw (or electric saw) every 5″.
Side note: You can cut between the nodes to get hollow 5″ tubes or you can keep the node on one side and cut the pole right after it, in order to get a single hollow opening on the opposite side.

cut bambooPlace the tubes in a a wooden box, stacking them up tightly.

Decorate the nest to assist the bees in locating their individual tunnels.

bamboo nest

bamboo bee nest on post bamboo bee nest on post 2

Drilled mason bee hotel

This is the easiest way for making a mason bees’ nest, but it requires power tools.

Drill 5/16″ diameter holes into a 6″ deep untreated piece of lumber or log. The holes should be about 1″ apart and drilled about 5″ deep into the wood.

wood piledHang the nests individually or stacked up as shown below.

drilled bee nest stack

Bee creative

For a more unique look, construct a bee hotel by mixing and matching materials, i.e. include drilled logs, bamboo tubes and birch peel tubes to form one mega-nest.

bee nest with mixed materialsAdd natural elements for decorations, like moss, lichen, pine needles, spruce branches, alder catkins, pine cones, leaves, rocks, sea shells, etc.natural decor 1

natural decor 2

mixed bee nest

Setting the nest

Early spring is the ideal time to hang mason bee houses, as the bees emerge from hibernation eager to find a nesting place.

In order to see the bees come and go, hang the nests at eye level on a south facing wall with morning sunlight. In addition, make sure to place the nests in an area protected from the rain (on a deck, under eaves, etc.).

To increase your chances of attracting mason bees, consider planting pollinator flowers such as wildflowers, asters, lilies, poppies, marigold, lavender, sage, basil, lupines, and flowering fruit trees or shrubs.

So, encourage your kids to learn more about pollinators this season by making and hanging mason bee hotels in the back yard.

“Bee-ild it and they will come”

Happy pollinating season!



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