I cannot believe how quickly January went. Here it is, already February, and I have not made myself put together a timely post on native bees. Mea culpa! Yes, it’s been a busy January what with the semester starting up again and some family matters to attend to. And when I did find odd moments to pursue the subject, my curiosity always got the better of me. I would read a little, think a little, then go off on a search for more info, read some more. It's a failing with me: a tendency to get lost in the data, swim in the subject, forget I have a goal. It's why my class papers are always late. LOL I feel that there is something more I could find out, or I’d run across some odd bit and want to know more. I'd probably make a decent research assistant, although the researcher would probably tear out their hair as their deadlines loom.
Remember how I was surprised to learn the difference between feral and wild? How ALL European honeybees in North America are non-native? That those honeybees can (and in some documented cases do) have a negative impact on native bees and other native pollinators? That alone has made me re-evaluate the nature of my sanctuary. And now my current foray into native bees (I’ll address other important pollinators in the future) has made me glad that it is winter and there is time to reconsider certain aspects of my plant selections.
Confession time: I thought I knew something about bees. I mean really. Bees? What’s to know? I thought honeybees ruled and big and little bumble bees were cute and fuzzy and carpenter bees drove me crazy chewing up my shed. CCD? I was going to rush out and save honeybees from extinction. Oh hubris! Thankfully my meds kicked in and a cooler head prevailed. (Could be the meds, could be the *#($*@ freezing cold winter we’re having this year! LOL). Anyway the amount of info out there to read (just the online stuff alone) has really shaken up my complacency and gotten under my bonnet. This early research is buzzing like a hive of hornets in my head, still new and undirected, difficult to know where to start. So much I would like to post, but I’m afraid at this point it would read like a biology dissertation (as one dear fan ventured ;-) ). And the last thing I’d want to be is … boring. *arg* (Who was it that said “I’d rather be wrong than boring?” Might have been a politician, can’t remember. *grin* )
So I’ll organize my thoughts, cut the info into some chewable bites and post them as the winter progresses.
Here is the first bite: Apparently there are between 3500 and 4000 native bee species in North America alone (with over 16,000 identified to date worldwide), and each of them evolved along with certain native flora. These essential symbiotic relationships developed well back in the longtime. How long? One type of bee (which has characteristics of the wasps from which bees evolved) has been found in a piece of 100- million-year-old amber. (pic from Google images)
One hundred million years? Whoa! There’s even more to read than I thought. I’m doomed…. Stay tuned. To paraphrase the governator: I’ll bee back…