Submitted to: American Bee Journal
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/15/2001
Publication Date: 7/1/2001
Citation: KEMP, W.P. BEES IN YOUR BACKYARD. AMERICAN BEE JOURNAL. 2001. 141(3):183-185
Interpretive Summary: The number of honey bee hives available for crop pollination in the U.S. is declining at a time when the need for those hives is increasing. The depressed price of honey together with increases in operating costs due to Varroa and trachael mites has forced many traditional honey beekeepers to leave the business. With each beekeeper that leaves the business, there are fewer honey bee hives to pollinate more than $10 billion in crop each year which rely on bees to set fruit. This article, the second in a series, was solicited by the editors of the American Bee Journal to offer insight into new business opportunities, for traditional honey beekeepers, through the use of other "wild bee" species (non-honey bees) which can be managed easily and which perform better than honey bees in certain niche markets. This article suggests ways to increase local wild bees and provides details on constructing artificial nesting blocks.
Technical Abstract: This review article is the second in a series, solicited by the editor of the American Bee Journal, exploring how traditional beekeepers and custom pollinators may improve their profitability as well as that of their customers through the expanded use of non-honey bee pollinators like the alfalfa leafcutting bee, orchard mason bees, and bumblebees. This article provides specific suggestions on how to increase local wild bee populations through the use of artificial nesting blocks. In addition to providing details on specific nest-block construction, we include information on bee identification and general biology. Discussion is also presented which reveals that producer demand for other non-honey bee species - for example, orchard mason bees in orchard crops - is increasing and that new niche markets are opening up for interested and creative custom pollinators.