I’ve posted about bees and their role in our gardens before. But September is National Honey Month (I kid you not–this is apparently when the honey is ripe in the hives in most places.)
Also, wasps, hornets and other members of that genus hymenoptera are getting more aggressive in our late summer gardens, so I thought it was time again to focus on the more gentle species to remind folks that there are so many things they can do to encourage “the good guys” in their yards.
The University of Minnesota put out a Primer for Gardeners called “Conserving Pollinators”. While it doesn’t touch on all pollinators, it does discuss native bees, honeybees and a number of ways to provide for them. There is a video about bees, a list of flowers that are particularly good for bees, and something that I think is incredibly valuable, a photo of some bees nests in the ground. They state that these can easily be confused with ants nests (why this is bad I don’t know–ants nest in the ground are nothing that should be disturbed unless they are fire ants that are likely to harm you or carpenter ants that are likely to damage your property).
The site also gives a number of links as resources including the venerable Xerxes society which is the go-to for the conservation of all invertebrates. I can’t say that I think its coverage of Eastern bee species is fabulous–every time I try to look up a bee that I think I might have seen out here, all they have are bee species from Oregon or California. But that may have more to do with a scarcity of their resources than it does with actual information. I certainly hope that’s the reason. Whatever the reason, I’ve not found their site very useful to me as an Easterner.
But do check out the University of Minnesota site. Some awfully good work is coming out of there, and coming from Prof. Jeff Gillman–but I’ll save that for another day.