Saving bees still high on Alberta priority list
Albertans care deeply about nature and preserving the natural world and there is continued interest in keeping Alberta safe for native species.
The bee story is about more than just honeybees. In fact, honeybees are actually an alien species in Canada. Most of the pollination that takes place among native plants is from native species and many of these live solitary lives. There are about 300 of these bee species in Alberta.
Take the humble bumblebee, an early riser in spring. This fuzzy animal loves to visit prairie anemones and the early flowers of willows – pussy willows. You will see them in early spring, laden with so much golden pollen they can hardly fly. They do get together in colonies, smaller ones of generally 50 or so individuals, although some colonies can number up to 400 or, in odd cases, four times that number, and some gather is numbers as few as 20.
There are many more bee pollinators such as the mason bee, which is easy to attract with artificial nesting sites, they nest alone; the sweat bee which is attracted to human sweat; and the mining bee, which make holes in the ground to nest in.
To support the bee population nurture plants they love. Wild roses attract bees and fly pollinators. Lindley’s asters are a bee magnet and bergamot, otherwise known as bee balm, brings in bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, wasps flies moths and beetles, all pollinators.
Avoid using pesticides and other chemicals on your lawn and garden. Keep your yard healthy with good soil, compost, leaf mold and adequate watering. And leave a little water out for wildlife, including the bees.
Show some love for our hard working pollinators - plant some bergamot (left), asters (right), wild rose and/or Lindley's asters.
Tawny Mining Bee and Nest Hole.