Perhaps the most fascinating exhibit on the grounds of the O’Hara Nature Center in Irvington is the “Pollinator Hotel,” a structure that supports cavity-nesting bees and wasps. Made of logs with holes drilled in them and of dried stems of perennial plants, it might be the ‘greenest’ recycled housing project ever: stems are saved from Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium fistulosum), Wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa), and Cup-plant (Silphium perfoliatum) and repurposed into nesting material.
It’s also a work of art.
Please watch this short explanation by the ONC’s resident horticulturist, educator, and designer of educational materials, CJ Reilly, in which he explains that bees and wasps that are solitary, that don’t live in colonies, are attracted to holes in natural materials, in which they lay their eggs and then fill with grasses and other nutrients. Up to a year later the eggs will hatch, creating a new brood of insects ready to pollinate native plants.
Need to know more? Here is a link to some educational material. And you’ll just have to visit on your own.