LETTER: “Tickle bees” in Nelson

Reader Eva Johansson says ground-nesting bees are easy-going and we should protect them.

Recently I noticed a small group of ground nesting native bees in Nelson. They live on the median between the Nelson and District Credit Union and Touchstones.

Many people take a shortcut across the grassy part of this median. I did too and noticed something interesting — ground nesting bees!

These are mild-mannered bees. School children have nicknamed them “tickle bees.”

Native ground nesting bees are less aggressive than European honeybees, since they don’t have a colony or hive to defend. They are gentle bees and would rather not sting, unless provoked. They lay eggs in underground burrows. You can see the holes to the burrows if you look carefully. Although the bees are called “solitary,” often many bees nest at one site because the conditions are right.

Just like us bees need food and a safe home to raise their young. The less we disturb the nest site the more energy the female bees will have to tend their young.

While the female busy is busy gathering nectar and pollen for her offspring she is also doing us humans a favour and pollinating our flowers.

If you would like to help these bees, please don’t step on their homes.

Learn more about native bees at xerces.org or kootenaynativeplants.ca/native-plants-for-native-pollinators

Eva Johansson

Winlaw

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