As you all know, I love (LOVE) my honeybees! I am fascinated by their behavior and culture as much as I enjoy their honey. The way they interact is fascinating – the dances they use to communicate where the best pollen or nectar is, how the workers sense the queen is dying and begin replacing her. The way they huddle in a ball around the queen in the winter to stay warm and survive.
You often hear the quote attributed to Albert Einstein, “If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left”. It is typically accompanied by a few pictures of honeybees, or perhaps a hive. I imagine that the vast majority of those that have heard this quote have imagined the honeybee when they hear it.
But honeybees are only a small part of our pollinator population, and not necessarily the most effective in all situations. Bumblebees have longer proboscises (tongues) and can therefore better pollinate certain plants. They also forage in more adverse conditions. There are many other important native bees as well, such as Leaf Cutter and Carpenter.
Additionally, we have wonderful pollinators in butterflies, moths, beetles, wasps, birds… even bats!
I worry that our world focuses too much on the deliciousness that honeybees provide, and neglects to care for our other pollinators. Rather than trying to rid yourself of Carpenter bees, treat your wood then create a native bee hotel for them to nest into instead. Don’t be afraid of the large and noisy bumblebee. And go to bed early so you don’t see the bats swooping about if they make you nervous!
Thank you for caring about ALL of our pollinators! Have some fun making a native bee hotel, put up a pollinator friendly sign in your yard and don’t use pesticides, and teach your kids about our other wonderful pollinators! Our world thanks you!
Stay up to date with all our beekeeping and other homesteading adventures by following us on Instagram @the.mn.homestead and on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCB3wWjfjOOzZVXC6YKUVwGA.