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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Logan, Utah » Pollinating Insect-Biology, Management, Systematics Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #316106

Research Project: Managing and Conserving Diverse Bee Pollinators for Sustainable Crop Production and Wildland Preservation

Location: Pollinating Insect-Biology, Management, Systematics Research

Title: Gardening and landscaping practices for nesting native bees

Author
item Cane, James - Jim

Submitted to: Extension Fact Sheets
Publication Type: Experiment Station
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/8/2015
Publication Date: 5/15/2017
Citation: Cane, J.H. 2017. Gardening and landscaping practices for nesting native bees. Extension Fact Sheets. 175-15:1-4.

Interpretive Summary: Bees have two primary needs in life: pollen and nectar to feed themselves and their offspring, and a suitable place to nest. Guidance is increasingly available about garden flowers to plant for native bees. We know far less about accommodating the nesting needs of our native bees, but there are certain practices that favor or disfavor their nesting. Most species are ground-nesters. Bare ground and decorative pebble mulches are used by some species. Conversely, dense turf, buried weed barrier and thick mulches are avoided. Above ground, some twig-nesting species use stems that offer either a small hollow. Others prefer to excavate soft pith, such as dead rose or raspberry canes, or pithy dry flowering stalks. Various provided substrates can be given to wood-nesters, but repeated reuse can accumulate diseases, so regular sanitary practices are recommended.

Technical Abstract: Bees have two primary needs in life: pollen and nectar to feed themselves and their offspring, and a suitable place to nest. Guidance is increasingly available about garden flowers to plant for native bees. We know far less about accommodating the nesting needs of our native bees, but there are certain practices that favor or disfavor their nesting. Most species are ground-nesters. Some species use bare ground, and some prefer decorative pebble mulches (e.g. Halictus rubicundus). Conversely, dense turf, buried weed barrier and thick mulches are avoided. Above ground, some twig-nesting taxa use stems that offer either a small hollow (e.g., some Osmia, Hoplitis, Megachile). Others prefer to excavate soft pith, such as dead rose or raspberry canes, or pithy dry flowering stalks (e.g., Ceratina, some Xylocopa). Various provided substrates can be given to wood-nesters, especially various Osmia species, but repeated reuse can accumulate diseases, so regular sanitary practices are recommended.