(Grand Forks, B.C. Canada)
large Bumble Bee
There are many kinds of bees in the xeric garden - the types of drought tolerant plants that are especially useful for being able to grow in challenging conditions also have the trait of great nectar and pollen production - just what bees are after.
Some wild bumblebees live in a hive situation, with a queen that they protect, drones and workers, just like domesticated honey bees. They make their hives in old stumps, or even below ground where they store their winter food, the honey, and make propolis, and bee jelly to feed the larvae, and the queen.
Some solitary bees, although they may be gregarious and live in close proximity to each other, make an individual nest or place to lay their eggs.
There are many kinds of solitary bees, such as mason bees, and blue faced bees.
Some are so rarely studied that they don't even have names yet. Their value to us lies in their ability to pollinate many more flowers in their daily flights to collect pollen for their food. In Japan, where the honey bee is pretty much extinct, solitary bees have been used very successfully to pollinate the orchards, which otherwise have to be done by humans with a paint brush!
Simple mason bee houses such as these on the page about pollinators are all it takes to encourage them to stick around - oh, and lots of flowers too.
See more similar insects on these pages:
Bald Faced Hornet
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