All Things Maine
All Things Maine

Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Bees of Maine

An article in today's Maine Sunday Telegram tells of the high prices Maine's blueberry farmers will pay this year for pollinators due to a disease ravaging America's honey-bee population. UMaine's Cooperative Extension website has some great resources on Maine's native and non-native bees, with tips on making your yard and garden "bee friendly."
There are about 17,000 species of bees that have been described worldwide; 4,000 species described in the U.S., and an estimated 270 species of bees occur in Maine. We have documented more than 40 bee species associated with lowbush blueberry in Maine. Many more species probably are associated with lowbush blueberry in Maine, for example, more than 60 species have been collected from lowbush blueberry in the two provinces of Nova Scotia and Quebec. [from Wild Bee Conservation for Wild Blueberry Fields]
In Hawaii, many native bee species are imminently threatened with extinction. And in the wild blueberry fields of Washington County, Maine, six species of native bees were last collected in the mid-1960s. Managing native bees as we manage honey bees, in large hives, is not possible. However, we can enhance the habitats of native bees, providing nest sites and forage plants, to help them to survive, thrive, reproduce and pollinate! Such habitat management benefits honey bees as well. [from Understanding Native Bees, the Great Pollinators]
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