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How does your garden grow?

Remember those pollinator gardens we discussed back in January? Remember the plant lists for bees and the arguments about natives versus invasives? Well then, how is it going? On this end, I’ve got good news and bad—tales that are amazing, funny, and disappointing. Here’s my report so far. Siberian squill: I planted hundreds of Siberian […] Read more

Are we raising extra-large mason bees?

Except for natural bamboo tubes, it seems that most commercial tunnels sold for pollinator housing have an inside diameter of about 7 to 8 mm for orchard mason bees (Osmia lignaria), 6 mm for blueberry bees (Osmia ribifloris), and 5 mm for both alfalfa leafcutting bees (Megachile rotundata) and raspberry bees (Osmia aglaia). I don’t […] Read more

Pollinator walls, bee towers, and insect hotels

It seems that everyone is building for the bees these days, from private citizens, to transportation departments, to architectural design firms. The proliferation of bug structures, no matter how humble or how grand, indicates that humans are finally getting it: insects need a place to live too. As we cover more and more of the […] Read more

Wild pollinators cannot replace honey bees . . .

At least not in the way we’d like. In the past few years a flood of articles has heralded native pollinators as “saviors”—groups of selfless, tireless, seldom-seen gladiators that are going to step in and save our food supply once the honey bees die off. This is a comforting thought, and perhaps one day native […] Read more

Milkweed fairies due for a comeback

Make a wish, blow it free. What kid in America didn’t grow up chasing milkweed fairies? The hairy white seeds floated, bobbled, and danced across the grass while the neighborhood children delighted in catching the elusive prize. Once caught, you cupped it in your hands, made a wish, and blew it free. It tumbled out […] Read more