Solitary Bee House

Bees are a hot topic right now, and rightly so.

Bee populations are falling at an alarming rate, which isn’t cool when you consider how essential they are to our food system. The use of pesticides and monocultures of commodity crops (like wheat and corn) that sterilize the landscape of biodiversity are just two of the contributing factors to their disappearance.

Agapostemon, Solitary Bee

Last summer I attended a Pollinators workshop put on by the good people at The presenter that day was artist and bee enthusiast, Stephen Humphrey. He explained the differences between solitary and communal bees and how important it was to encourage their presence in our yards through the help of bee houses and by growing native plants.

I was especially delighted to learn that a certain emerald wasp-like insect I had photographed in my garden (see above) was in fact a species of solitary bee called Agapostemon. In fact, it’s one of Stephen’s favourite species and it’s not hard to see why. They’re absolutely gorgeous!

Stephen is part of an ecologically-minded artist’s group called Resonating Bodies. I recommend checking out their bee house installations!

paper cut bee illustration solitary bee house

Flash forward 6 months later, and there I was, illustrating solitary bees for the Canadian Wildlife Federation’s kid’s publication, WILD. (Thanks to AD, Steve Balaban)


The step by step guide teaches kids how to make their own bee house out of the simplest of materials: drilling holes into pieces of wood. Here’s another way of making a bee house I spotted at Toronto Blooms, using clustered bamboo sticks.


The construction of bee houses combined with the replanting of native wildflowers is one small step we can all take to help improve our bee numbers.

I plan on making one for my backyard and I’ll be sure to post an update on how it turns out!

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2 Responses to “Solitary Bee House”

  1. 1 KC May 20, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    I didn’t realize you had a blog. You are hands down amazing, I am so loving looking at all of these hand cut illustrations!

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My name is Ashley Barron and I'm a Toronto based illustrator. This is my online show & tell of new artwork and anything else I find inspiring. Thanks for taking a look :)

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I'd be nothing without my circle punchers. (Some cherry and apple blossoms for @nfftt.) Travis, Jake, and Toy auditioning for the 2016 reboot of #HomewardBound. Some freshly printed numbers so our friends know where to find us. Btw, that means YOU: so come and visit already! #CenturyGothic #3Dprinter Leeay wearing her line of @d_a_i_k_u jewelry during her product shoot yesterday. That's some hardware! Sometimes people need a little bridge to help get them through difficult times. (Detail of an Annual Report cover illustration for a small charitable org that does just that.) Working at my friend Roohi's @leavesoftreesto shop today. I've had to restock the shelves twice now, her natural deodorants are so in demand! We're also in the works of dreaming up a new window display. (Flowers by @patchoulidesign) Last week I spent 3 solid days sorting through 7 years of accumulated papers. Thanks to a second newly acquired Ikea Alex drawer unit (stacked on top of the old), each colour has it's own drawer...finally! Meet my Quasimodo of a Hyacinth. It's scent is so spring on steroids. My nose kinda hurts. #hyacinth


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