San Diegan creates shelter to save native bees

Posted at 7:02 PM, Nov 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-12 13:02:18-05

SAN DIEGO - Most people are terrified of bees, but San Diegan Candace Vanderhoff actually welcomes them in her backyard.

In her garden, bees can be seen and heard buzzing all over her native plants.

"I'm trimming this plant. I do this all the time and they never bother me," Vanderhoff said of the solitary native bees.

"They are not nesting in your house. They live alone and they don't sting," added Vanderhoff.

The bees are considered the best kept secret of pollination.

"They are one by one looking for a cavity to lay their eggs and reproduce," said Vanderhoff.

Like honeybees, they're suffering because of habitat loss and pesticide use.

"We have to save the bees. It's critical for us because 80 percent of the plants require pollination," said Vanderhoff.

That's why Vanderhoff designed what she calls the SoloBee Native Bee Shelter, a safe, pesticide-free nesting place.

In San Diego, there are 600 species of native bees. Most are gentle and do not sting.

"One native bee does the work of 60 honeybees, so these bees are very effective pollinators," Vanderhoff said.

SoloBee has sold hundreds of shelters across the country. The team maps out every single one of them.

"We want to track where people are helping pollinators," said Vanderhoff.

Even health food company Kashi hired Vanderhoff to install shelters in its gardens. Kashi will also feature her and her story on the back of one of its products.

"It feels great," added Vanderhoff.

Vanderhoff is so passionate about the solo bee that she's written a children's book about their life cycle titled "Zoe the Solo Bee."

"It's actually named after my niece, Zoe. She's three years old, and what's great [is] you can see her looking into the cavity, and so this makes you realize these bees will not sting," said Vanderhoff.

Her message is simple -- no bees, no fruits or vegetables.

If you'd like to install a SoloBee shelter for your garden, school or office, visit