Bees are attracted to pretty flowers.
In a healthy grassland, flowers continue all spring and summer and into the fall, with flowers for the big bumblers and tiny wasps and bees half the size of a grain of rice.
And what’s this? An ant?
And a butterfly on an aster. Grasslands are great for asters. So are mixed woodlands in the grass.
And flies, in the wetlands among patches of trees. All kinds of flies. Big and small. Here’s some on a stalk of Angelica.
Beetles, too. Sharing space with a bumble bee!
There are hundreds of species of bees, wasps and beetles that come off the hill to pollinate my garden each year. Rarely is one a honeybee. So, here’s the thing. If we concentrate on saving honeybees for pollination, we will lose the world. We are better off to save habitat for all manner of bees and flies, and to encourage a healthy grassland for them, because just providing bees with a couple weeks of orchard blossoms in the spring won’t replace the spring, summer and fall that bees need, and won’t support honeybees, either. What’s more, without a rich, flowering grassland, ungrazed by cattle and not overpopulated by deer (who love to eat flowers) blocked off from lowland shrubs, there will be no pollination of fruit and vegetable crops, either. Wild land is needed to support domesticated land. It can’t produce without it. From a grassland perspective, talk of honeybees is just one more step in a chain of colonial talk and action that replaces living environments with bare land. We need to talk about flowers. Planting them must become a part of all civic works programs. The pollinators will come, at least for a little while longer. And, no, don’t worry. They won’t bite or sting.