Julia Cu Intro oduction

Frederick Countty Office
330 Montevue L
Frederick, Maryyland 21702
TEL 301-600-15594
FAX 301-600-1588
ative Bees
Julia Cu
ubit, Fredericck County M
Master Gardeener
The decline in th
he population
n of honeybeees is awakeening an inteerest in and aan appreciatiion of the naative
polliinators. Mosst people aree familiar wiith a few of the
t more notticeable of thhese such ass butterflies,
mmingbirds and bumblebees. Yet theere are thousands of otheer largely ovverlooked creeatures that ppollinate
incluuding flies, beetles,
and wasps.
d there are naative bees. A
About 4,000 species of bbees are nativve to North
Ameerica, and mo
ore than 400
0 of these aree found in Maryland.
mmunity Beees and Lone Nesters
Onlyy a few nativ
ve bees are aggressive
nd these are the
t bees thatt form social communitiies such as thhe
mblebees. Thee rest are non
n-aggressivee loners who
o reproduce iin nests theyy construct inn holes in the ground,
and iin holes foun
nd in trees an
nd in other structures.
thosee that do havve the capabiility to stingg when
threaatened, frequ
uently it is th
he female off the species with that ab ility - many male nativee bees have nno stinger.
Geneeralists and Specialists
Most pollinatorss can be divid
ded into two
o categories by
b foraging habits – genneralists and specialists. Generalists,
suchh as the bumb
blebees, willl visit any flo
ower in searrch of pollenn and nectar; while specialists have a preference
for a specific typ
pe of flower.. The orchard
d mason beee, a specialisst, is a shiny,, dark blue bbee slightly ssmaller than
the hhoneybee. It is highly vaalued for polllinating flow
wers of fruit trees.
Suppporting a Healthy Populaation of Natiive Bees
Since many nativ
ve bees nest in abandoneed holes in th
he ground orr in trees, m
making habitaats available will help to
encoourage an inccrease in nattive bee popu
ulations. Sp
parsely vegettated patchess under treess and along tthe sides of
walkkways, roadss and fences will attract ground
nesteers. Bees thaat nest abovee the ground will seek ouut old logs
and ttree stumps with abando
oned insect holes.
nestting sites is to
t hang a nessting board. These can bbe as simple to make as ddrilling ¼”
Anotther way to provide
to ½ ” holes about 3” deep in
nto an untreaated piece off wood suchh as a sectionn of a “4 x 44”. The typee of bee this
nestiing board atttracts is deteermined by th
he diameter of the hole; the orchard mason beess will use a bboard with
½” hholes. Securre the board to
t the south side of a treee or buildingg where it w
will get sun. One bee entthusiast
drilleed holes in the porch collumns of hiss home. (This is not recoommended iff other occuppants of yourr abode do
not sshare an ardo
or for native bees.)
Otheer ways to su
upport nativee bee populaations can bee as simple aas allowing a variety of pplants to grow
w on your
propperty. Patchees of lawns that
t host a feew small flow
wering plantts such as soorrel and other innocuous wild plantss
can ssupport a nu
umber of the smaller bees.
nships amonng insects, annd between iinsects and aanimals.
Avoiid using pestticides. Leaarn about thee interrelation
Therre are many insects that are
a beneficiaal to the gard
den. Wasps,, ladybird beeetles, assasssin bugs, groound beetles,
and ccentipedes are
a predatorss that help keeep populatio
ons of destruuctive insectts in check. Spraying wiill destroy
this nnatural balan
University of Marylaand Extension programs are open to all citizens without
regard to race, color,
gender, disability, religion, age, sexual oriientation, marital or pareental status, or national oorigin.
Consider choosing native perennials when selecting new plants. Native insects have evolved alongside native
plants and native birds. Native plants will attract native insect pollinators such as bees and butterflies. In turn,
these insects will attract songbirds which will help maintain overall insect populations at a healthy level.
An excellent source of information about native pollinators and native plants can be found at
www.pollinator.org. Select the guide for the Eastern Broadleaf Forest, Oceanic Province which has detailed
information for Maryland.
For more information about the Frederick County Master Gardener/Horticulture Program, visit
www.frederick.umd.edu/mg or call Susan Trice at the University of Maryland Extension Frederick County
office, 301-600-1596. Find us on Facebook at
University of Maryland Extension programs are open to all citizens without regard to race, color, gender, disability, religion, age,
sexual orientation, marital or parental status, or national origin.