Did you know that bees are one of the absolute best things for your commercial landscape? It’s true. The benefits of bees are wide-ranging, and their dwindling numbers are a major cause for concern.
When you think of bees, you probably only think about honeybees, but there are actually over 4,000 native bee species in the United States! Almost all of them are extraordinarily helpful when it comes to the look and health of your landscape. Let’s dig into the reasons why bees are a commercial landscaper’s best friend.
What Kind of Bees Are Around?
There are over 300 different kinds of bees in Wisconsin and over 500 types of bees in the Midwest, including honey bees, bumble bees, leafcutter bees, carpenter bees, sweat bees, long-horned bees, mining bees, squash bees, and more.
However, there is much we don’t know about the native bee species of the Midwest and the United States as a whole. In fact, some bees are smaller than a grain of rice, and at least 10% of the approximate 4,000 native bee species in the U.S. haven’t even been named or described. But what are the benefits of bees? Let’s examine.
Benefits of Native Bees
So why are bees beneficial to nature and to your landscape in particular? Do you like having plants and flowers? Do you like eating fruits and vegetables? Bees are absolutely instrumental in the proliferation and very existence of many plants, as most of them require the services of bees. You might be wondering “are bumble bees beneficial even though they aren’t honey bees?” The answer is emphatic yes.
Here are some of the benefits of bees in the garden:
- Native bees collect nectar and pollen from flowers to feed themselves and their larvae, including those found on many fruits, vegetables, and herbs. During their work, they pollinate many plants.
- Most native bees are hairy, which allows them to pick up many different forms of pollen in their hairs.
- Some native bees pry pollen loose from flowers by vibrating, called “buzz pollination.” This type of pollination is required for many plants, including the potato family.
- Some native bees are specialists and are very picky about the type of pollen they collect, making them essential for specific species of plants.
- Without native bees, reproduction would be impossible for many plant species, as they rely on outside agents, otherwise known as vectors, to move their reproductive material from one plant to another.
- Bees are an absolutely vital part of any environment or landscape they inhabit.
How Can You Help Bees?
There are some simple things you can do in your garden to help bees. Here are some best practices to follow:
- To help ground-nesting bees, make sure you leave areas of bare and undisturbed soil in your landscape in various places.
- Other bees, like a twig and wood bees, make their homes in hollow branches and stems. During your seasonal cleanup, do not clean up all of these types of stems and branches.
- You can also provide artificial habitats and nests for bees to improve their ability to reside in your landscape.
- Reduce pesticide use as much as possible. Speak with your landscaping professional about what you can do to limit pesticides.
- Provide food for bees by planting a wide variety of plants and flowers in your landscape. Even some lawn weeds, like dandelions and violets, are of benefit to bees.
As you can see, native bees can be very helpful for your commercial landscape. Contact Earth Development for help in caring for your plants to keep the bees comfortable in your area.