Bees are one of the most important and beneficial insects in the world. The value of their honey production and pollination of crop plants is measured in billions of dollars annually in North America.
There are three common types of bees found in Grande Prairie:
Honeybees (Apis mellifera) are the typical bees you see working in your yard and garden. They collect both pollen and nectar, converting the nectar into honey to feed the hive over winter and using pollen as a protein source.
Bumblebees (Bombus spp.) are large fuzzy bees that almost look too big and clumsy to fly. Their colonies only last a single season, so they are much smaller than honeybee colonies, perhaps only 50 individuals. These bees are specially adapted to live in northern regions.
Native (Solitary) Bees
There are over 200 species of native bees in Alberta. Homeowners don't often notice them when they're present, as they mostly work alone and some don't resemble bees at all. However, these solitary bees are crucial pollinators. To help bolster struggling populations of native bees, consider hanging a 'bee hotel' in your yard, or leaving the stems on your spent perennials 10 centimeters tall to allow them a place to nest. Plant native flowers such as wild rose, yarrow and liatris. If you spray pesticides for an infestation of an insect pest, identify the best way to get rid of it without affecting bee populations.