So what about the Native Bees and other pollinators (butterflies, moths, hummingbirds, flies)
•Most are solitary (90%)
•Most nest in the soil (i.e. old vole tunnels) (70%)
•All need a nectar (carbohydrate) and pollen (protein)
•Bumble bees will develop a “hive” of workers but only the new mated queens will overwinter 1-2ft below ground
•More tolerant to cold than honeybees (they can work 24/7 during the short summer)
•Pollinators have evolved to feed on select types of forage (tongue length, body shape)
•Bumblebee buzz pollination (where the bee buzzes intensively to loosen the pollen)
•Most will forage within a few 100 meters of their nests
4 Main impacts Native Bees/Pollinators & Honey Bees
•Pesticides (Weakens immune system)
•Climate Change (range reduction – extreme temperatures and events)
•Pest and Diseases
•but Habitat Loss is the most critical
Honey bees have been on the continent for upwards of 400 years. But the decline in wild bee and pollinator populations is fairly recent. That suggests not just short term or honey-bee-centric observation but that something has shifted in the last 50-100 years that no longer allows the wild bees to prosper as they once did. Attention then must shift to: degrading and disappearing habitat, the ubiquity of agri-sprays in the environment, urbanization, forestry use and management, vast monocultures as an agricultural approach, "weed" control.
Wild bees and native pollinators often have very short flight ranges, so are much more vulnerable to forage loss, forage spacing and diminution.
Providing a Source of Food (http://www.abcbees.ca/learn/gardening/ )
•Bees and plants have evolved alongside each other for nearly 100 million years and depend on one another for survival. Flowering plants provide bees with pollen and nectar (their only sources of food), while bees provide the pollination service, which allows these plants to properly reproduce.
•Whether you’re interested in supporting native bees or honey bees, providing plenty of flowers ensures that all pollinators have plenty of food to keep them healthy. Whether your planting a few pots or an entire yard, keep the following in mind for the most success:
1. A variety of blooms will cater to a variety of bees. Bees see in the ultraviolet spectrum so they prefer purple, blue, yellow and white blooms.
2.Bees need food from flowers throughout spring summer and fall, especially early and late in the growing season. Try to have something in bloom from April to October.
3.Group plants of the same species close together to form large blocks of colour. These are easy for bees to see and pollinate.
4.Native species are easiest to maintain and most beneficial to native bees.
5.Avoid pesticides and herbicides completely !!
Creating New Habitat (Nesting)
Provide habitat for nesting and egg-laying, such as:
•Shrubs, tall grasses, and low-growing plants
•Patches of fallen branches and brush
•Small patches of bare ground
•Bee nesting block/rotting logs
Note: Use a 3/8” – 5/16” drill bit to drill out holes
of 5-6” deep