Beneficial Insect: Bees (Hymenoptera) (honey bees, bumble bees, carpenter bees)
Insect Type: Beneficial insects
Major Identifying Features: All bee species are winged, bees have stout and hairy bodies, bees have barbed stingers and can therefore only sting once
Life Cycle: Complete metamorphosis (egg, larva, pupa, adult), larvae are blind and legless, the pupal stage is non-feeding, they display various levels of social behaviour, ranging from non-social, solitary bees to highly social honey bees, social bees live together in highly organized communities where they share food and raise the young
Pest Rating: Beneficial!
Management Rating: Beneficial!
Host/Season/Outbreak Information: Bees become increasingly abundant and active from spring through fall as the temperature rises and food sources become more available
Support Information/Common Prey: Honey bees, native bees, and bumble bees pollinate 30% of the plants that produce the vegetables, fruits, and nuts that we consume, more than 100 crops in North America require pollinators, pollination by bees contributes over $18 billion worth of additional crop yields, bees also pollinate native plants that require seed to sustain future bee populations as well as many other animals, both native bee and honey bee populations are in decline due to the lack of high quality pollen, loss of nectar plants, pathogens, and pesticides
- Learn the seasonality of plants and bees, several plants should be blooming each season from February through October
- Provide a diversity of floral hosts and include a minimum of 20 different plant types from the Asteraceae family and Lamiaceae family. Example plants are: wild rose, serviceberry, pussy willow, lupines, catmint, garden sage, linden, purple prairie clover, swamp milkweed, Billard’s spirea, catnip, sunflower, wild bergamot, anise hyssop, New England aster, goldenrod, Korean angelica, Stonecrop
- Give structure to the garden
- Plant in the sun, bees like sunshine!
- Plant herbaceous shrubs, perennials, and annuals in patches
- Don’t forget to seed annuals such as California poppies
- And don’t forget to include native plants. Click on your state to learn more: http://xerces.org/pollinator-resource-center/
- Maintain flowers by dead-heading spent flower heads from annuals
- Create a watering regime and make sure your plants have sufficient water
- Do NOT use pesticides, it can kill beneficial insects and bees
- Consider plant climate zones when you choose plants for your garden
- Provide homes for nesting bees with wood structures, vertical rock walls, bug hotels, and bare patches of undisturbed soil
- Provide nesting materials like mud, plant leaves, resins, a water source (use a shallow bird bath and add rocks and water)