More on Bees & Other Pollinators

by Catherine Haug

Last year we had a gathering on the topic of Pollinators and their Habitat, which included presentations by three guests:

  • Tom Lawrence on Keeping Honey Bees
  • John Holbrook on Native Orchard Mason Bees
  • Tamus Gannon on Native Plants as Habitat for Pollinators

This topic continues to be of interest to ESP. See below for:

  • Science Daily Articles on Pollinators
  • Mason Bees and their Homes
  • How to Construct a Bee Block
  • Previous ESP Posts on Native Bees & Honeybees

Science Daily Articles on Pollinators

John Holbrook forwarded two recent articles on bees and butterflies from Science Daily, that you might find of interest:

Mason Bees and their Homes

It’s important to encourage these and other native pollinators to thrive in our yards and gardens, especially as the honey bees (a non-native) are succumbing to disease such as Colony Collapse Disorder. See Mason Bee Motels for 2010.

Mason bees (or Blue Orchard Mason Bees) are so named because the secure their nests with bits of mud that dries into a mortar. They are solitary bees; each female has her own nest in a wood tunnel. She deposits and egg in the back of the tunnel, then closes it in with a bit of mud, like a tiny jail cell. Then deposits another egg in front of that cell, then closing it in with more mud. And so it continues until the tunnel is filled.

These bees are native to orchard country in the Pacific Northwest, which includes the Flathead. They are powerful pollinators, much more efficient than honey bees.

New bees emerge from their nests at the same time fruit trees are ready to bloom, so they are perfect for pollinating orchards. But they will also pollinate other blooms present at the same time, so are useful for spring gardens as well.

How to Construct a Bee Block

John Holbrook showed us last spring, how to build a wood block with tunnels for the Mason bee nests. Why not make up one, hang it in a secure spot that gets morning sun (SE exposure), before the spring blooms start in earnest, and see if you can attract these bees to nest in your yard.

See How to Make Bee Blocks for Orchard Mason Bees.

Previous ESP Posts on Native Bees & Honeybees

Here are a few other posts from the last year on native bees:

And on non-native honeybees:

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