Support Native Pollinators

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image by Bob-Peterson CC-BY

image by Bob-Peterson CC-BY

  • Identify Native Bees
  • Attract them to your backyard
  • Learn to build a bee house

Elsa Youngsteadt’s Top 5 reasons to garden for native bees:

5. Enrich your experience in your yard or garden. As recently as a few years ago, even I — a card-carrying entomologist — had only the vaguest sense of bee diversity. I would have mistaken many native bees for wasps and never even noticed a lot of others. North Carolina alone is home to more than 500 species of native bees. Bringing this diversity into focus through gardening and research has been a delight, heightening awareness of the habitats and seasons in my own backyard. We want to share this experience with you!

4. Embrace the truth about stinging. Male bees can’t sting, which leaves only half the population armed. And even female bees aren’t in the mood to sting while foraging on flowers. You may be surprised to find yourself spending time in your garden, peering at bees just inches from your nose, with no repercussions.

3. Beautify your yard. Bee food also happens to be pretty: Who doesn’t like flowers? In our workshop, we’ll review (and then go plant! and take home!) some of the best pollen and nectar sources for native bees. Landscape architect extraordinaire Anne Spafford will explain how to arrange your plants in an attractive, inviting way.

2. Enhance pollination in your garden. Bumblebees and other native bees are some of the most efficient pollinators of fruits and vegetables. Honey bees (native to Europe) are no good at pollinating tomatoes and their close relatives, for example, and they aren’t particularly efficient at fruit trees, either. By supporting a thriving population of diverse, native bees, you’ll have a greater variety of pollinators ready to step in and work the plants they know best.

1. Contribute to a bee-friendly landscape across North Carolina. Native bees, as a group, are fundamental to healthy agricultural and natural systems in our state. Without them, many plants couldn’t reproduce. By creating even a bit of bee habitat, you’ll join a movement that can collectively help improve conditions for these insects throughout our landscape.