Sav­ing bees still high on Al­berta pri­or­ity list

Alberta Gardener Magazine - - Local Dirt -

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.

Ma­son bee.

Tawny Min­ing Bee and Nest Hole.

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