Gardening Answers

Thinking ahead about bees.

marti_n_midwest_moderator | Posted in Midwest Gardening on

I spent 2 days at the Nebraska Landscape Winter Conference networking with other professionals and getting some continuing education.  One of my favorite presentations addressed creating habitats for native bees.  I learned that the cute ‘Bee Hotels’ are not the most effective nesting sites for the majority of our native bees.  They can be helpful but for many, their lifespan is limited.  Most bees prefer to deposit their larvae in the dead stems of various annual and perennial plants, even some shrubs could be useful.  Less tidy cleanup in the spring and fall is more beneficial for our pollinator friends. Now that I know that, I wish I had cut partially cut back some of my large perennials instead of leaving them alone for winter texture.  I am definitely going to be more thoughtful when introducing new species and managing them throughout the seasons so the bees have more homes available for their larvae. 

Do you have areas that are supporting your native bees?

You can learn more about supporting native bees by reading this article in Fine Gardening.


  1. User avater Moderator
    mdwyer | | #1

    Great points about the "Pollinator Hotels", Marti. I did an article on these as many are more of a novelty and folks don't realize that if they aren't properly constructed, placed and cared for regularly, they can have a negative impact on native pollinators that might try to use them. Of course, the argument to leave up more stems and leaf litter over the winter months for our pollinators and other critters continues to gain momentum!

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