For those interested in starting or improving your own garden here are a few tips and tricks:
- Plants native! This is a must if you want to attract local bees. Non-native bees often occupy non-native plants, so providing plants that are native to your region is a great way to ensure that your hometown pollinators are receiving the resources they need to survive and thrive
- Pass on the mowing if at all possible. Though many neighborhoods and cities have ordinances in place dictating lawn care, I urge you to fight back (peacefully of course) by limiting or eliminating mowing regimes. Many of our native bee species are ground nesters- and mowing both damages and disturbs their natural habitat. Let the grass grow and let the weeds live!
- Avoid pesticides and herbicides. This is quite self explanatory, but avoiding chemicals is a great way to help improve the overall status of your garden
- Keep sticks and piles of leaves in your yard. Bees that aren’t ground nesters are often cavity nesters, and can find safety in even the smallest of twigs. Leaving this brush can provide a nesting site for small specialist bees that often do not forage in highly manicured lots
For more information on native bees and plants, I recommend the following books:
- The Bee-Friendly Garden by Kate Frey and Gretchen LeBuhn. 2016.
- The Bees In Your Backyard by Joseph Wilson and Olivia Messinger Carril. 2015.