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Native bees

One day last week, Jim mentioned that one of our large tupelo, or black gum, trees (Nyssa sylvatica) was in bloom and humming with bee activity. He spotted numerous honeybees and various other bees, all toiling to collect the pollen they will deposit on other trees and plants, aiding gardeners and farmers across Gloucester County. We value honeybees, and rightfully so, but did you know that the more than 4,000 species of native North American bees also work hard to pollinate our flowers, vegetables, fruits and trees?

Native bees sometimes are nuisances because of their destructive behaviors and nesting habits, but they are important members of our garden and farm ecosystems. We can encourage these excellent pollinators by planting native plants and providing nesting habitat to prevent certain species, like Eastern carpenter bees (Xylocopa virginica), from tunneling into wood siding and decks to lay their eggs. Carpenters resemble bumblebees, but you can learn to tell the difference...

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