Here and there across the Canadian countryside you’ll see these bright blue shelters placed in patterns in pastures. Their openings all face the same direction and their presence has a rather otherworldy feeling about it. What are these things?
They are plastic shelters for alfalfa leaf-cutter bees, a native North American bee that has been domesticated. The blue dome is used in western Canada, variations in other parts of the continent. The shelters, usually found in alfalfa pastures, are needed for their warming ability and as a place for the bees to build their nests out of alfalfa leaves. One shelter for every 4 to 5 acres contains about a dozen nests.