What happened to the bee houses constructed during the “Work Bees” in May?

The “Work Bees” contributed to the 80+ solitary bee houses monitored in Yukon this past growing season.  Forty were equally divided among five local farms.  Citizen scientists and I installed the remaining ones around the territory, with the greatest concentration close to Whitehorse, and the northernmost sites along the Dempster Highway.

To collect data on the use of these bee houses, half of the 60 holes in each bee house were lined with removable nesting straws for the duration of the growing season. Then, just before the accumulation of snow asserted the arrival of winter, we collected the nesting straws.  Insects and spiders living in the remaining 30 holes were left in situ to perpetuate local populations.

I candled the collected straws over an old salvaged scanner repurposed as a light box.  The penetrating light enabled detection of occupants in the nesting straws.  Occupants included spiders, moths, flies, and egg sacs as well as bees and wasps.  Aphid wasps were among the most common inhabitants, a minute insect that provisions each larva with a stockpile of aphids.

The straws containing nests of bees and wasps have now gone to University of Ottawa where they are being reared in a controlled lab environment.  We will be learning what species we have, what plants the bees gather pollen from, and who the parasites are. For some species, it may take two years before fully developed adults emerge.  Nature instills patience.

Thanks again to all who contributed and the Environmental Awareness Fund for sponsoring the “Work Bees”.

(co)space’s coworkers: Michel

Meet the Makers is a series of interviews to help you get to know the people who are building YuKonstruct’s makerspace. With lots of interesting members at (co)space, we wanted to broaden our interviews to include them!  We now have the (co)space’s coworkers interviews. Here’s Michel’s.

Michel is a young water sciences specialist currently teaching at the Yukon College. At (co)space, Michel has found an ideal setting to network and develop his entrepreneurial idea: Duteau Bioresource Contracting. This environmental consulting business caters to agriculture, mining, forestry and urban development clients in the Yukon.

Michel, what made you go into business for yourself? 

I have always had a strong entrepreneurial drive. I was raised in the midst of a thriving business, my parents being agricultural entrepreneurs. I always admired self-starters, and want to make a personal contribution to the society and share ideas. I also am disinclined to ‘’corporate culture’’, where the individual’s development and well-being is subordinated to a company’s – a balanced lifestyle is a strong value of mine.

How did you start your company? 

I started throwing ideas on papers a number of years ago. Last summer, I started organizing these ideas towards a coherent business definition (what services I wanted to offer, to whom, etc.). I was slowly making strides towards a business plan. In the last few months, I registered my business with the authorities (e.g. YG, City of Whitehorse, WCB) and developed formal marketing tools (website, brochures, etc.). Networking is a big part of a start-up, and I am now actively offering my services and looking for contracts.

Why do you love being an entrepreneur? 

What I love the most about being an entrepreneur is that I can instill my personal views onto my work, through a personalized approach. Hence, you can share your values and ideas and imprint an impetus onto societal development. For instance, I have a strong care for the environment and my work can contribute to a sound development of the natural resources, through stewardship and adapted technical means.

What advice do you have for other Yukon small business starters?

Get the word out! Networking really is core. Ask advice to your friends, family, co-workers, fellow professionals, and experienced people. Seek feedback on your ideas, and incorporate it in your enterprise development.

What do you like about (co)space?

Working from (co)space has helped me focus on my duties – I used to work from home, where there always are plenty of distractions. It also helped me in keeping a sound schedule. Having people that you can chat with, bounce ideas against and share the mood with is a huge plus.