Bee Buzz – Support Native Plant Vendors
Reprinted in part from Nature Scoop, May 2020 issue.
We can help save native bees by providing pesticide-free native plants that bloom from early spring until fall, and by having natural nesting places in our yards. These plants provide nectar (fuel for flight) and pollen (protein for baby bees).
Bees return to their nests every day and can fly only limited distances. A small bee may be able to fly only 600 feet. For example, the Spring Beauty Mining Bee lives in a tunnel in the ground near its partner plant, and comes out as an adult only when the plant is in bloom. Spring Beauty pollen is the only kind of pollen their babies can eat. Larger bees, like Bumblebees, can fly up to 3 miles. Leave bare spots (soil without mulch) and scrubby areas with leaf litter so ground-nesting bees, like Mining Bees, can dig tunnels for nests.
Leave rotting wood (including firewood and snags) for tunnel-nesting bees, like Carpenter and Mason bees. Cut or break down dead flower stalks to 12-15 inches in late spring. Tunnel-nesting bees need these pithy or hollow stems. Here are some important tips, including a link to bee-plant lists by zip code.
Specialist bees can feed only the pollen of their partner plants to their babies: Plant Spring Beauty for Spring Beauty Mining Bees, Yellow Trout Lily for Trout Lily Mining Bees, Brown-eyed or Black-eyed Susan for Rudbeckia Mining Bees, Ironweed for Ironweed Longhorn Bees, and Goldenrod for Goldenrod Mining Bees. Check out the items marked with a yellow dot on the Native Plant-Insect Interactions Guide for the Specialist Bees.
Download the the Native Plant-Insect Interactions Guide, courtesy of Prairie Moon Nursery. This pollinator chart is a great reference. It indicates types of bees, including Specialist Bees, and was prepared by Heather Holm. She shares stories about bees — all of kind bees — she posts to Facebook: Heather Holm.
Test Your Skills
From the Wisconsin Pollinators – What’s the Difference Between a Moth and a Butterfly?
A moth and a butterfly sure can look alike, and they both belong to the same insect family (Lepidoptera). But, there are a few differences to look for so that you can tell them apart. See if you can spot the differences.
From The Prairie Ecologist – Quarantine Quiz #6
Reminiscent of the time we spent on the Kansas Tallgrass Prairie, we are reminded that so many plants are similar to the ones we have in Wisconsin. Search the five other quizzes in the Quarantine Quiz – and stay tuned for more.
From the Xerxes Society
There are more ways to learn and to support important projects coming up, including the Pesticides: Threats and Solutions webinar on Thursday, April 30. We are also launching a new webinar series in May. Webinar Content.