They may nest in a tree stump, or holes in the ground, or pull nest fibers from the stalks of your dried-up native plants. Wherever they can make a home, you will find them fascinating, useful guests. Earthworms guest Heather Holm - a landscape designer, author and native plant expert - LOVES to introduce humans to them!
They are Native Bees - species of insects that pollinate many kinds of plants. They are very different from familiar honeybees (introduced here from Europe) which live in huge colonies of thousands of bees. Our native bees are usually solitary, visible only during their brief adult lives, when their determined purpose is to build an out-of-the-way nest, provision it with "bee bread" made from flower pollen, lay eggs, seal their nest up - and die. Next year, new native bees will hatch from those obscure places and re-start the cycle of reproduction and pollination.
Heather Holm now works, researches, writes and speaks from her Minnesota home in the Twin Cities. She hails from the University of Ontario, Guelph, where another recent Earthworms guest brought us intel about honeybees. She visited St. Louis in early March, as keynote speaker for the Partners for Native Landscaping workshop, where she kindled many fires of interest in gardening to attract and observe native bees - including with Earthworms host Jean Ponzi!
Music: Divertimento K 131, performed by Kevin McLeod
Thanks to Andy Heaslet, Earthworms engineer.
Related Earthworms Conversations: Bees and People (January 2017)
Prairie Plants: Growing a Joint Venture with Nature (February 2017)