The year-long nesting period makes habitat a primary concern for wild bees
Gardeners might be itching to clean up dead leaves and stalks from the winter, but they could be holding wild bees who haven’t emerged yet.
“A big impact is to keep your garden messy. We always have this urge to tidy up but it’s really better to leave things messy,” said research scientist Martina Clausen with UBC’s BeeHIVE Research Cluster and board member with the Native Bee Society of B.C.
“The public usually thinks of honey bees when we talk about saving the bees, but honey bees aren’t the problem. They’re basically pets or even livestock,” she said. Honey bees are not native to Canada, they are bought and sold and are taken care of by a beekeeper year round.
Wild bees are different, and at least some of the 483 recorded species in B.C. are endangered.
Finding a safe place to lay eggs is a primary threat for wild bees. Eggs are laid in the spring, turn into larva throughout the summer, build a cocoon in the fall and emerge as an adult the next spring.
“For that entire year they need a nesting place not disturbed.”