Native pollinator habitat

Stems from the invasive knotweed have been cut down to provide nesting sites for native bees.

Importance of native bees

The European honeybee was imported into north America in 1622, very early in the colonization of the continent by Europeans. Over the four centuries since it was brought here, the species has thrived not only in cultivation, but also as feral colonies started by swarms that escaped from managed hives. 

It is hard to do the studies, but it is likely that the numerous honeybee colonies have displaced many native bee species. And now that honeybees are under intense pressure from several diseases and parasites, there is increased interest in promoting native bees.  There are about 4000 species of bees native to the US.  Many of these are solitary bees, that is, they don't live in colonies but rather lay their eggs individually in the ground, in holes in wood, or in hollow stems. They include species of sweat bees, carpenter bees, and many others.  Most of these bees are non-aggressive; many cannot sting, and those who can generally only do so if they are directly threatened, for example if they are stepped on.

Here on the trail, we have decided to construct some habitat to encourage these bees to nest nearby. 

For more information about building habitat for native bees, try these sources:

https://www.xerces.org/sites/default/files/2018-05/12-015_02_XercesSoc_Nests-for-Native-Bees-fact-sheet_web.pdf

https://pollinators.msu.edu/sites/_pollinators/assets/File/Building%20Bee%20Hotels.pdf