It was a usual day for Werner Klann, who was surrounded by at least a dozen bee lovers hoping to absorb his wisdom about mason bees.
“Can we keep bees close to the bird house,” asked one of the workshop attendees.
“Oh! no… that is a no no. You do this… the bees would be candy for the birds,” Klann was quick to clarify.
Klann, a retired construction worker, is a passionate bee lover.
Every year, he sets up around 60 “mason bee homes” in parks throughout the Lower Mainland, at no charge to the parks.
This time, he was invited by Langley Environmental Partners Society (LEPS) to lead a workshop and talk about the importance of mason bees and share tips on how to care for them.
While showcasing the mason bee homes he built – a small structure, resembling a bird house, designed to provide a place for bees to breed – he shared multiple tips on how people can care for mason bees.
“For me it is not a business… it is all about educating people,” said Klann, who has been putting up mason bee homes all around Langley for the past four years.
Through the years, his expertise has helped many bee lovers and saved the lives of hundreds of these “super pollinators.”
Emphasizing the need to offer safe spaces for mason bees to breed, Klann said that there are many kinds of predators out there. Consequently, people need to help bees to avoid their own extinction.
Klann embarked on his journey to share his wisdom four years ago, and now he works with various environmental groups with a sole vision of equipping people with the proper knowledge.
As his volunteer work grew, Klann had to look for an income stream to cover the expenses. So, he soon started selling the bees he raised to local nurseries.
The businesses help him cover the cost of various initiatives he takes to spread knowledge and care for bees. Now offering workshops, Klann said it is important to teach people “how to build the house, look after the house, and most importantly clean the house.”
The workshop, which is the second of the “garden smart workshops,” took place on Saturday, April 30 and was organized at LEPS’ demonstration garden at Derek Doubleday Arboretum in Langley.
For Langley’s Charlotte Evans, Klann’s workshop was “very” informative.
“I’m excited to install my new mason bee house in my garden. It’s encouraging to see people like Werner spread the word about this super pollinator and how it can help our garden’s productivity,” Evans said.
The workshop was also a warm-up for those interested in an upcoming bees festival.
LEPS is organizing the festival for Saturday, May 28, where people can enjoy free, kid-friendly events such as beeswax candle making, seed bomb creating, bee house making, a plant sale, a seed swap, and more, said Alexandra Falconer, garden programs coordinator for LEPS.
“Bees, butterflies, flowers, and other springtime costumes are encouraged,” Falconer shared.
Those interested in learning more about the workshop and upcoming events can email LEPS at email@example.com.
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