Rockwall Boy Scout creates buzz worthy Eagle Scout project

Rockwall Boy Scout creates buzz worthy Eagle Scout project

Rockwall, TX (March 28, 2024) – Chris Fowler, sophomore at Rockwall High School, knew that he wanted to pursue a conservation project to complete his Eagle Scout requirements. The question was which of the many options he might explore?

On Tuesday, March 5 Chris presented a unique and challenging project to the Rockwall Butterfly Brigade. His vision was to build Mason bee boxes or “hotels” for the butterfly gardens created and maintained by the brigade volunteers.

The purpose of the project is to increase habitats for bees to help increase pollination which sustains the gardens and foliage throughout the area.

As Chris detailed in the presentation, the bee boxes are much more complicated than originally thought. Through his research he learned that bees are very picky about where they choose to make their home. The material requirements are specific, and the box location must include a water source nearby.

In preparing his proposal, and to further research the box requirements, Chris and his father, Rockwall Police Chief Ed Fowler built a prototype.

His proposed box would be constructed of materials that would be most successful for the habitat. This being hard woods such as seasoned oak, cedar, or pine. If not seasoned he learned the bees would reject their new home. The interior of each box will be filled with bamboo which provides the bee tunnel. Completed boxes would then be mounted on wooden posts in each garden, with Chris and each Butterfly Brigade garden leader determining the most ideal location.

While resembling bird houses on the exterior, bamboo interiors provide a tunnel in which bees lay eggs and the bee larvae will live. Each tunnel may be 8 inches long, providing a home for one larva secured with a dirt “wall” preventing predators from reaching the larvae.

Each year, typically in the Fall, the bamboo would need to be replaced to prevent disease. Any larvae that had not hatched would be removed and stored in a refrigerator to be returned to the garden the following spring. A maintenance plan would be developed with Chris providing maintenance in conjunction with Butterfly Brigade volunteers.

Addressing concerns that might arise, Chris explained that the role of a Mason bee is that of a pollinator. They do not make honey so these bee boxes would not be a home for hives. Additionally, he explained that Mason bees are known to be gentle and rarely sting so the risk of people being stung is minimal.

Rockwall residents visiting the gardens located at Harry Myers, Emerald Bay, Stone Creek, Breezy Hill, Shores Park, Pettinger, and Hickory Ridge should see the boxes completed and installed by the end of May.

By Melanie Mayfield, Blue Ribbon News senior writer. Photo by BRN Media/Blue Ribbon News.