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World Bee Day
Bees and other pollinators are incredibly important, not only to the ecosystems they live in, but also in keeping our diets healthy and balanced. Without bees, foods like almonds, blueberries, apples, tomatoes, broccoli, and so many other fruits and vegetables wouldn’t be of the same nutritional value or quality.
Western honey bees, also known as European honey bees, are the most commonly used bees for commercial pollination and honey production. Though not naturally found in North America (they are native to Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Western Asia), these honey bees provide many benefits to humans! They were initially introduced to the United States in 1622 by European settlers in Jamestown, Virginia.
In Ohio, we have thousands of native bee species, one family of which is called the Leafcutter Bee. Leafcutter Bees are solitary bees (not living in colonies or hives), who nest in pre-existing cavities made by other animals or insects, or nesting in the ground. They cut oval and circular pieces out of leaves in order to create nesting cells for their eggs—each cell containing a single Leafcutter Bee egg.
Native bees are fantastic pollinators, and not to be forgotten about! Have you ever seen leaves with circular shapes cut out of them by a native Leafcutter Bee, like in the picture below?
Bee populations are declining world-wide. Have you ever wondered how you can help the bees? Here are a few things that you can do:
• Plant native plants. There are so many beautiful flowers that can grow at different times of year, providing a constant source of pollen and nectar
• Avoid using chemicals in your garden and lawn, such as pesticides and herbicides
• Let dandelions grow—they’re often the first source of food for bees in the spring!
Then use this recipe to make Honey Play Dough - just one way to celebrate World Bee Day! And if you see a bee today, be sure to thank it!
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