Gantz classes creating a buzz


By Andrea Cordle
Southwest Editor

Like most kids, Gloria Hartung grew up afraid of bees.

Once the gardening bug bit her, she learned to respect bees and their vital role in the environment. Now, as an education specialist for the Gardens at Gantz,  Hartung is helping bees thrive.

She is leading two classes for Grove City residents to build mason bee houses for their garden.

Mason bees are gentle and solitary, so they do not swarm. They do not produce honey, but according to Hartung, they are wonderful pollinators.

“They just cover themselves in pollen, so they are very beneficial for those who grow their own vegetables,” said Hartung.

Mason bees are active in the spring. They do not live in hives. Instead, they lay eggs in woodpecker drillings, insect holes or hollow reeds. They usually stay about 100 yards from their nest.

Hartung said, if you want a good crop in the garden, attract the pollinators.

In the classes, participants will learn to attract the mason bee by constructing a bamboo house to encourage the bees to take up residency in the garden.

Hartung said as a gardener, providing a welcoming habitat and a source of nesting materials benefits the garden, the gardner and the bee. She said this is especially important with the recent outbreak of Colony Collapse Disorder in the bee population.

According to Hartung, members of the Darbydale Garden Club made bamboo mason  bee houses last year and had great success.

“Don’t be afraid to put these houses out in your garden,” said Hartung. “It is a safe thing. The bees will not hurt you.”

The city of Grove City will host a mason bee class at 7 p.m. April 20 at the Gantz Farmhouse, 2255 Home Road. The fee is $12 and covers all the materials needed to construct the house.

A second class will be held at 6:30 p.m. April 22 for children ages 5-15, also at the Gantz Farmhouse.

Hartung said in this class, the children will make the house in a clay pot, then decorate the pot. The fee is $12. Participants are encouraged to dress to get messy.

To sign up for a mason bee class, contact the Grove City Parks and Recreation Department at 277-3050 or visit

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