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The Role of Native Bees


by Amanda Murphy , OCNT Grower, Core & Landscape • Garden Account Manager


While March and April always seem to have trouble making up their mind whether to hold onto winter or reach toward warmer temps…ultimately Spring does happen! Even though some days it is hard to believe, but right in front of our eyes, the landscape is coming to life!

Bulbs start popping up, buds begin growing on trees, the Lenten Rose (Helleborus) with its early blooms, and even important pollinators like birds, butterflies and native bees are starting to emerge from their winter homes and begin to fly and buzz around.

Native Bees, like the Mason and Ground Nesting types, play an important role in pollination of garden crops, native plants and fruit trees. You can encourage these native bees to your landscape by helping with the following:

  • Create nesting habitats like brushy hedges

  • Allow some areas to have bare soil/sparse vegetation

  • Hang a bee hotel in your garden

  • Supply a water source like a shallow bowl or birdbath filled with rocks or sticks for a safe landing spot

  • Reduce or eliminate pesticide use, including herbicides, fungicides and insecticides in your gardens.

Further provide for these native bees by planting flowers that bloom from spring through fall. This includes plants with an assortment of flower shapes, colors and sizes. Incorporate native plants as well as nectar/pollen rich annuals that produce a buffet in the garden for visiting pollinators. (See plant list below.)

With a few simple changes, gardeners and landowners can make a big difference in the conservation of these beneficial pollinators. It’s important to protect bee health! Early tree bloomers, like maples and willows, can be especially helpful to emerging spring bees.

And don’t be too worried about these little native/solitary bees, they typically won’t sting… Unless you try to catch them in your hands. The larger male bees don’t even have a stinger!

Planting for Native Bees:

Native plants: Bee Balm, Butterfly Weed, Aster, Coreopsis, Purple Coneflower, Liatris, Black-eyed Susan, Spiderwort, Catmint, Lavender.

Annuals: Cosmos, Zinnia, Salvia, Sunflower, Lantana, Verbena

Trees: Eastern Redbud, Maple, Linden, Crabapple

Shrubs: Viburnum, Pussy Willow, Honeysuckle, Sumac

For more information on Native Bees, visit:


Give our office a call if you have questions about your property!



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