Nature Note: Native Bees

Apr 16, 2021

A bee on a flower

Everyone wants to save the bees.

That’s a laudable idea, but the image most people have in their minds when they think about bees is that of the honeybee, a non-native species brought to North America by Europeans. Don’t get me wrong, I love honeybees—I’m actually a beekeeper! They are indeed important pollinators.

But did you know there are about 4,000 species of native bees on this continent? And they are facing the same obstacles as other well-known pollinators.

So, how can you help?

Consider providing nesting space this spring for these often-overlooked insects. Doing so can be cheap or free to do.

Many nest either in the ground or in cavities. Many ground-nesting bees simply need a patch of dry, exposed dirt, which you can create by simply giving up on that patch of your yard that refuses to grow grass anyway. Or for bees looking for cavities, place a bundle of short bamboo stakes under an eave or other cover.

The Xerces Society has a fantastic fact sheet that explains what else you can do.

Featured photo by Tara Green

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