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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

It's the BUZZ...Native Bee Boxes

Denise Shreeve is a beekeeper of an unusual sort. Instead of honey bees at her home in McLean, Va., she raises native orchard mason bees -- solitary bees that don't produce honey, but do pollinate abundant gardens and crops. Orchard mason bees are native to the entire North American continent and are amazingly efficient pollinators, especially of early fruit and nut trees. After completing a honey beekeeping course a few years ago, and realizing how many chemicals it takes to keep them alive, Denis Shreeve decided to research native bees as an alternative and found:
  • Orchard Mason Bees are gentle, mild-mannered solitary bees that rarely, if ever, sting. (Males don't even have stingers.)  
  • OMB’s do not make honey, but rather use collected nectar and pollen to feed themselves and their young.
  • They don’t have a Queen to defend so will never attack if disturbed, making them very safe around kids and pets, and fun and educational to watch.
Continue reading this article for more about these native bees, native beekeeping and how Shreeve creates her beautiful, easy DIY bee boxes 6 Facts About Native Bees
Photo: Denise Shreeve

Create your own Mason bee or other native bee boxes:

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