The Buzz about Bumblebees
Many intermingle the terms ‘bumblebees’ and ‘honeybees.’ However, there are many differences between the two. Check out this Curious Conservationist Photojournal to learn more.
Rusty patched bumble bees have entirely black heads, but only workers and males have a rusty reddish patch centrally located on the back.
Sadly, this little bumblebee is not the only pollinator having trouble. According to an article in Science, half of the Midwest’s native bee species have disappeared over the last 100 years.
Scientists blame the dwindling population to threats including disease, habitat destruction and pesticides.
As with all pollinators, these bumblebees are keystone species- species that have a heavy impact on neighboring species in an ecosystem.
Bees are the glue that holds a community together. By traveling great distances between flowers, bees ensure biodiversity in plants. Plants fertilized by bees provide seeds, nuts, and fruits for other animals to eat. And once these seeds make it to the ground, more plants are created to shelter and feed more wildlife.
Even humans benefit tremendously from bees.
“The economic value of pollination services provided by native insects (mostly bees) is estimated at $3 billion per year in the United States,” according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
With the human population growing at an alarming rate, the demand for large scale agriculture does, too. Sadly, this means mass pesticide use and the destruction on native bee habitat.
The rusty patch bee will be the first to be placed on the USFWS Endangered Species List.
How you can help your local pollinators?
Grow a garden. Whether it is a large plot or a small area full of containers, providing a ‘go to’ spot with plenty of variety can provide nectar and pollen for native bees.
Use native plants in your yard such as lupines, clovers, asters, bee balm and other mints and borage. Avoid invasive non-native plants and remove them if they invade your yard.
Foster natural landscapes. Did you know not all bees build hives? Many native bumble bees build their nests in undisturbed soil, abandoned rodent burrows or clumps of grass. Preserve unmowed, brushy areas and tolerate bumble bee nests when you find them. If a hive becomes a nuisance, call a bee removal service that humanly relocates hives.
Limit the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizer whenever possible or avoid them entirely. Pesticides cause lethal and sublethal effects to bees and other pollinators.
Until nest time my friends, this is Ms. Mallory inviting you to. . .