Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/7/2004
Publication Date: 10/7/2004
Citation: Rinehart, T.A., Sampson, B.J. 2004. Pollinator gardening: the bees. Meeting Abstract.
Technical Abstract: About 5,000 species of bees are native to the U.S. and Canada. Most (~80%) are gentle loners that live peacefully with people. Native bee populations thrive on native annual and perennial wildflowers that are adapted to local climate conditions. Wildflowers also provide bees with a superior food supply that will also encourage visitation by other farmer-friendly creatures: e.g. ladybird beetles, syrphid flies, preying mantises, spiders and lacewings. These plants will also attract appealing beasties like butterflies, moths and hummingbirds. The pollination accomplished by bees, moths and hummingbirds produces quality fruits, vegetables, and seeds. The antics of bees at their food plants also provide educational opportunities for children to study up-close the ecological mutualisms that exist between plants and animals. Children can explore the habitats of native bees and the special materials bees use in nest construction and provisioning: straw, pebbles, leaf pieces, reeds, dead branches, clay, mud or resin. These materials can be easily provided to native bees at no cost to the gardener or farmer. Family members can enjoy building and installing wooden 'bee condominiums' that support important fruit pollinators such as orchard mason bees.