Frequently Asked Questions

 

Why would I want more bees in my backyard? 

If you are highly allergic to bee stings, then you don’t want more bees in your yard.

For the rest of us for whom stings are an unpleasant surprise rather than a life-threatening event, bees and other pollinators play a crucial role in plant reproduction while foraging: carrying pollen from one flower to other flowers on plants of the same species.  If we want pollinated fruits and vegetables we cannot have them without the contributions of bees and other animals that provide pollination services.

While pursuing a PhD in Florida I actively handled about 500 live native bees over a three year period, and I was not stung once.  While this was probably a combination of luck and skill with an insect net, I was also VERY careful handling them because I did not want to be stung, especially by the carpenter bees.

Also, this may be small consolation but, in my experience and according to Schmidt’s Index, social wasp stings (e.g. hornets, yellow jackets, and paper wasps) hurt more than solitary bee stings. The type of native bee I try to attract to yards are solitary and comparatively gentle.  They do not have such a huge investment in their nests that they need to defend them; still, they are not defenseless.

photo source:www.gardenswithwings.com

What is a native plant?

According to the US Forest Service:

“Native plants are the indigenous terrestrial and aquatic species that have evolved and occur naturally in a particular region, ecosystem, and habitat. Species native to North America are generally recognized as those occurring on the continent prior to European settlement. They represent a number of different life forms, including conifer trees, hardwood trees and shrubs, grasses, forbs, and others.”

 

why yardscape with native plants?

If you know how to convincingly mimic Mother Nature’s model in the short-term you can get these plants established in your yard for their long-term low-maintenance and drought-resistant characters.  Depending on where you live the varieties of plants will change. Native plants have been established by research to be better for pollinators.