The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Wild bees are the best pollinators

Pollen sacsAlthough Attracting Native Pollinators discusses many other types of pollinators, they recommend that you focus your efforts on making bees happy.  The Xerces Society argues that bees are the most important group of pollinators because:

Parasitic insects like this Greater bee fly are actually a good sign because they require healthy bee populations.It's worth noting that when I say "bees" this week, I'm not really talking about honeybees.  Although large agricultural operations tend to put all their eggs in one basket and focus on the introduced honeybee, some farmers have found that providing habitat for native bees (more on that in later posts) results in better pollination efficiency than trucking in migratory honeybee hives.  In addition, scientists have discovered that adding honeybees to the mix actually decreases the populations of native pollinators, which results in problems down the line when the honeybee hives collapse or when picky plants have to do without the only pollinator species they're equiped to deal with. 

In general, our gardens and natural ecosystems fare much better when we attract as wide a variety of native pollinator species as possible.  The Xerces society posits that if we focus on helping native bees, we'll also protect the other pollinator groups --- wasps, flies, butterflies, moths, and beetles.  The result is not only pollinated plants but also control of pest insects and the production of nest sites for bees.  Stay tuned for more information on how to  make this diverse pollinator population a reality in your neck of the woods.

Get your garden off to a good start with a soil test, then learn to interpret the results in my 99 cent ebook.

This post is part of our Attracting Native Pollinators lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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