From our Community
In a study we published earlier this year, we found that feral honey bees (managed honey bees gone wild) are preferentially removing food resources from the plant species that support the highest diversity and abundance of native pollinators.
Growing food in your own backyard is an excellent way to reduce stress, save money, lower pollution, and improve your community’s food security. Working with soil has also been shown to reduce depression and enhance your mental health while you learn new skills. Our goal is to cover the key decisions in the planning process to make building your own victory garden easy for new gardeners.
Backyard bee houses or bee hotels have become so popular that large garden distributors have started selling quickly made nesting habitats. When these products are made from drilled blocks of wood or bamboo tubes, they actually do more harm than good for local hole-nesting bees. These companies' intentions are in the right place but they lack the knowledge of the pests and diseases that can harm bees.
Dave Hunter of Crown Bees filming at Oxbow Farm and Conservation Center in Washington State for a program by One Tree Planted about the important role bees play in supporting tree propagation.
Learn how to naturally deter social wasps from building a nest near your home. You may begin to notice and worry about social wasp nests in the late summer. Social wasps like paper wasps, yellow jackets, and hornets have similar life cycles and their nests become large enough to notice in the summer. Social wasps look for a protective overhang like a tree branch or unfortunately, your house's eaves.
Chances are, your bee hotel or bee house will attract a hole-nesting wild bee. We want to help your local bee population thrive - here are our expert tips that can help you understand your bee house guests.
Blue orchard mason bees are native bees that are active in the spring and are the perfect pollinators for blueberry fields. Emerging from their cocoons in the spring, they fly in cooler and wetter weather than honey bees.
Blue orchard mason bees (Osmia lignaria) and horned-face mason bees (Osmia cornifrons) both produce only one generation of bees per year. Knowing this fact makes it easier for us to protect the developing larvae from one of the biggest threats that hole-nesting bees face: gnat-sized parasitic wasps.
It's important to us to help keep Washington's water and air clean and to run our business in a way that protects the environment we all share.
Of the 20,000+ bee species on Earth, only about a dozen are used by farmers in commercial agriculture, and these crucial populations of managed bees have been declining at an alarming rate. Several factors, including increased use of pesticides, habitat fragmentation, emerging diseases, and reduced genetic diversity may be responsible for such bee losses. In response to this pollinator crisis, recent conservation efforts have led to stricter regulations on insecticide use. However, other agrochemicals such as herbicides and fungicides that do not directly target insects (such as bees) continue to be applied to in-bloom crops without much scrutiny. Curiously, past research shows that while certain fungicides may pose a lower risk for adult honey bees, they appear to be quite harmful to larval bees. Such findings were somewhat unexpected, and we at the Steffan lab wanted to find out why.