Tag Archives: pollinators

World Bee Day

Time To Recognize Our Little Friends

The United Nation has designated May 20 as World Bee Day and this year is the first observance of this day.  I’m so happy that the importance of these little pollinators is finally and officially recognized globally.  Hopefully it will bring a change in the rules and regulations to help make the environment safer for them, protecting them.  You can read more about World Bee Day here.

We keep a couple of honeybee hives in our garden but we don’t just put up hives for our honeybees.  We also put some structures up for native bees as well.  There is a good variety of native bees in our garden and they are avid pollinators, especially Bumblebees.  Some are an annoyance like Carpenter bees which love to drill holes in our patio beams to put their larvae in.

In honor of the World Bee Day, here are some of the little, hardworking friends in our garden.

Two native bees working together on Echinacea
Bumblebee on Borage
Sweat bee on Echinacea
Wool Carder bee on Thai basil
Bee on Goldenrod. I’m not sure what it is. It’s too hairy to be our common Bumble bee.
Mason bee on Yarrow
Bees on Onion flower. I think the one on the left is a young Bumble bee.
Cuckoo bee on Dill
A male Carpenter bee on Butterfly bush. Male has white marking on the face.
Honeybee on Common Milkweed

More information about bees:

  • Bees in your backyard: A guide to North America’s Bees by Joseph S. Wilson & Olivia Messinger Carril, ISBN 978-0691-160771
  • Bee: A Natural History by Noah Wilson-Rich, ISBN 978-0691-161358
  • Bumblebees: Behaviour, ecology, and conservation by Dave Goulson, ISBN 978-0199-553075
  • Bumble bees of North America by Paul Williams, Robbin Thorp, Leif Richardson & Sheila Colla, ISBN 978-0691-152226
  • Mason Bee Revolution: How the hardest working bee can save the world one backyard at a time by Dave Hunter & Jill Lightner, ISBN 978-1594-859632
  • Our Native Bees: North America’s endangered pollinators and the fight to save them by Paige Embry, ISBN 978-1604-697698
  • Bees of the world by Charles D. Michener, ISBN 978-0801-885730.  This is more like a text book.

Newcomers

The New Bees On the Block

Since I started keeping honeybees I have been more conscious about which new plants I put in the garden.  I check to see whether it can be a good food source for the bees or not.  I have been adding more herbs and wild flowers lately.  It seems to work well.  I’m happy to see that the garden is filled with a variety of bees and wasps aside from the honeybees.

This time of year is when Anise Hyssop blooms, and I have a whole patch of them.  The bees were busy from early morning onward and I enjoy watching them.  To my surprise, this giant showed up this summer.  Two of them as far as I know, since I’ve seen them working on two different patches at the same time.  They are Giant Resin bees (Megachile sculpturalis).

It’s pretty huge for a bee, around an inch long.  The body length is similar to the Eastern Carpenter bee (Xylocopa virginica) but much slimmer.  It was big enough that I thought it was a different type of wasp at first.  However it’s a native to East Asia that landed in the US in the early 1990s.  First spotted in North Carolina in 1994 and now spotted as far north as Vermont.  So far it’s harmless to other bees, except for Eastern Carpenter bees.  It will nest in an existing tunnel in the wood and sometimes takes over a Carpenter bee tunnel.  I have plenty of Carpenter bees nesting inside the patio beams that if one or two tunnels are taken over by these giants, it won’t be much loss.

 

Giant Resin bee on Anise Hyssop
Giant Resin bee on Anise Hyssop
Trying to go from one flower to another without flying
Trying to go from one flower to another without flying
The back
The back
Close up
Close up

References:

  • National Wildlife Federation ‘Field Guide to Insects and Spiders of North America by Arthur Evans
  • Insects: Their Natural History and Diversity‘ by Stephen A. Marshall
  • Bees, Wasps, and Ants: The Indispensable Role of Hymenoptera in Garden‘ by Eric Grissell