The North Fork Audubon Society connects people with nature. We promote the preservation of birds and wildlife by protecting and restoring critical habitats of Long Island’s North Fork. Our hands-on environmental and natural science programs encourage individuals of all ages to participate. We aim to grow a strong community of active members and supporters who value nature.
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And the Wild Bee Exclaimed “We are the Superheroes!”
There are close to 450 different bee species in New York State, so why does everyone focus on honeybees?!?! Wild bees including bumble bees, mining bees, leafcutter bees, and carpenter bees are 2-3 times better at pollinating than honeybees – wild bees are the superheroes! Wild bees ensure that our backyard gardens and farms are pollinated, working many times while the honeybees are still in their hive. Honeybees supplement the work of wild bees, not the other way around.
I recently gave a TEDx talk about these native wild winged wonders and how they match up to the attention-grabbing non-native honeybee. Interestingly, over 75% of wild bees are solitary (live by themselves) and nest in the ground or in holes found in trees. Consequently, they don’t have a “protect the hive mentality” that gives bees a bad rap and a high fear factor. Not only are they docile, but many wow with a glitzy flair, including the beautiful metallic green of a sweat bee and the fantastic metallic blue of a mason bee. Other bees like the leafcutter impress with a calling card – they are known as nature’s hole punchers because they cut circles out leaves and use them to swaddle their bee babies.
As emphasized in the video, keeping a honeybee hive is not the answer to ensuring that your backyard garden is pollinated and will not ‘help save the world’. If you want to ensure bountiful crops and help the natural world, give a helping hand to the wild bees. In fact, high densities of honeybees may outstrip an area of nectar and pollen before the wild bees can fully take advantage. Keep honeybees if you want honey. Yes, I continue to keep honeybees (it is how I got my start over 15 years ago and I do love honey) but I also raise mason bees and am experimenting with raising leafcutter and bumble bees. Mason bee houses and cocoons are available for sale at our Blossom Meadow store in Cutchogue so that other bee ranchers can also get started.
No matter the shape, size, or life history, bees are just fascinating. Thank you to TEDx for giving them the spotlight they so richly deserve.
Laura Klahre, owner Blossom Meadow Farm
31855 Main Rd, Cutchogue, NY 11935