Our Native Bees: North America’s Endangered Pollinators and the Fight to Save Them by Paige Embry (January book)


9 “Buds” attended the discussion on 1.21.2020.  We gave the book a 4 out of five star s

some bees are very hairy
honey-bees are not local
honey-bees are not great pollinators
these bees came from Europe
honey bees don’t pollinate tomatoes, native bees do
there are 4000 bees that are native
most fruits are bee pollinated
Agriculture strives on honey bees
since 1950 honey bees have declined by 50%
An estimated 200,000 different animal species that pollinate planta
20,000 species of bees (world wide) for pollination.
Males cant sting
Sweat bees lick up sweat
bees have five eyes
bees come from wasps (because they went vegetarian)
wind moves the pollen for dispersal
talk about angiosperm (source of nectar)
when bees fly, they build up a slight positive electrostatic charge that sucks negatively charged pollen grains
We eat what we eat is because of bees
Bumblebees or Bombus
A Honey bee is a bee for all seasons
talk of the almond army in California (millions of acres) 80% of almonds
with decline from 1989 to 1996, managed honey bees will cease to exist by 2035 (p. 14)
(12/19) the almond honey is not for humans, it’s for the bees
Humans love sweetness, thus honey came to be
honeybees collect nectar then into a wax cell
honey controls the weight of the bee hive
When spring time comes, so do the pollen and nectar
Watch collection of bees on U-tube.
about 3/8 of an inch is needed between frames in a hive
bee pollination started in 1910
south of the border there is another type of honey bee (Melipona – a stingless honey bee)
Almonds come from the Mediterranean (honey bees are crucial for pollination)
honey bee at in 1922 which closed the US doors to imported bees to keep out pests.
all honeybees are female bees (p. 22)
honey bee babies get about 250 meals
queen lays 1000 eggs per day
life cycle is 6 weeks
bees die in heavy rain
they die by about everything
CCD, pesticides, mites, etc
male bees die after sex (for a couple of seconds) about 10%
The dwarf honey bee lives in the warmer part of Asia
IGR is an insect growth regulator
spraying of almonds kill the bees
Fungicides are used on almonds (IGR in 2000)
PGA: pesticide control agents
Are the honey bees failing or not?
Is it from CCD?
Obama pored much money for the pollinators
are bee keeper still going to house bees?
About $55 dollars a hive
Ag people need bee keepers
Almonds is the money maker! HONEY BEES
Franklin bumble bees hasn’t been seen since 2006.
Its a tough hobby
male bees have no stinger
Using vacuum is tiny game hunting
most bees live a month to six weeks
genus Bombus are social bees
a bumble bee hive lasts one year
Queen losses hair as she ages
Bees egg hatch in about 4 days P.37 location 500
Queen bees die a peaceful death
Queen bee looks for new home in spring (bumblebee)
a worker bee is female bee
Queen eggs are laid in the fall
young hives can be eaten by ants or other rodents
A Franklin queen bee is about a inch long
Bee ID is tough (feel like giving up)
Franklin BB has short range
270 mile oval for the Franklins bumblebee
in the 2000 many BB numbers were very low
bumblebee lookalikes, it really a fly
bees have 4 wings, flies have 2
Bumblebees ae good for buzz pollination of tomatoes
buzz pollination was talked about
Domesticate bumblebees to help control the pollination process
Bumble bees can pollinate a greenhouse much better than buzzing for hand pollination
look for hairy back eggs (pollen-carrying structure)
native bees might be falling in population from diseases from migrant bees (p.46)
Bombus (eastern) is the only bumblebee active
then in 2010 people wanted eastern bumblebees
after waiting it was about 2013
interstate commerce could be an issue in 2016 (New President)
Other bumble bees are declining
16788 bumble bees were collected and comparing the data to more than 73000 bees they were indeed declining (p.51))
in abundance distribution
Bombus affinis BB has seen the worst reduction
BOB is a blue orchard bee hive (little box)
page 54 of 188 or 20% done
Bobs are non stingers
Dave Hunter thinks a billion honey bees are needed
Bobs are different from honeybees They start flying early
Bobs work more hours than honey bees
location determines the amount of Bobs needed
Males don’t collect pollen
honey bees if its to cold they don’t leave the hive
Bob carry pollen underneath their bellies
a hive is about 20000 bees (p. 56)
Washington makes about 60% of the apple production
honey bees are needed for pollination
they are good for pollination
mega growers rent out honey bees
Meagachile is a leaf cutting bee (arrived in 1930)
Bobs lick wooden tray nest
Bees mate, sleep, eat, and eventually dies
A Bob goes to 75 plants per trip
goes back to its home and spits out nectar
It takes between 1125 and 2625 flowers to get enough food for one babe
In a commercial orchard, a BOB usually complete seven to thirteen nest cells
so maybe 7875 to 34125 flowers
A female BOB only lives about twenty days as an
page 64 of 188 23%
bee makes a mud wall
slurping up nectar
lives only 20 days
There is a cavity bee: Hylaeus
spraying the trees hurt the bee hives (while bees are asleep)
BOBs were better than honey bees
yield about 2 times more than the honey bees
talk about hole size for Bobs
harvesting blue orchard bee cocoons
they like to come back to the origin
to harvest, take open the tube (cocoon) and sanitize
Alkall bees are excellent pollinators of alfalfa seed crops
Osmia (135 species) in North America
Are managed bees a way to go?
to make bees in north America is tough
A typical bee keeper has about 40 hives
What changed from the wild bees.
problems with Budworm
budworm are about 5 per tree (normal)
from pulp and paper needs
the company then sprayed the bugworms (used DDT)
stopped using DDT in 1969
A wild blueberry field
cultivar differs from wild plants
blueberries in Maine
need bees for pollinations
bees buzz pollenate blueberries.
page 78 29%
bees drum the anthers to get the pollen out
tri-colored bumble bees had the most in population for a study
switch away from burning had a problem with bees
wind keeps bees at home for blueberry farming
many bees papers are all clinical
blueberry bees live in a hole in the ground
these bees are called miners
ground nesting is norm for bees, with about 70% setting up their household in the ground
Andrena bees are solitary miners 31 different species
they smell like lemon
pest management in 2007 $12 billion dollars were spent
pest control goes back to 2500 BC with rubbing sulfur compounds on themselves, The Egyptians had more than 800 recipes, and the ancient Chinese used predatory ants to protect their citrus orchards, and even the Romans. The Romans created the first chemical weed killer (amurca) in the first century BC
The first aerial spraying came in 1921
tobacco was used to control lace bugs
Coal came…then coal gas (tar)
In 1939 DDT was introduced(had some good use) not for bees
didn’t have a longer look at bees when looking at pesticides
Study shows the bees have to fly away longer to find “other” plants
bees were under stress
Talk of Neonicotinoids of pesticides that are taken up inside the cells of the plant and can be translocated to new parts of the plant as it grows. Coat a seed, protect a plant.this gets into the pollen and the leaves. Direct effect on bees
we need to keep bees safe.
page 92 or 34%
do to Queen larva? disease
use of fenitrothion hurts liver of kids
Canada stopped the spraying of bud worms
The bees can’t do the work because of spraying. It’s not insecticides
Some bees are killed for science needs
once the bee is pinned, the wings need to be blown out
once done, it’s time to identify the bee.
Wild bees on farms:
farms are being replaced by houses and strip malls
corn and wheat are pollenated by the wind
it all has to do with bees
Ceratina bees are unlikely pollinators
carpenter bees chew wood
Ceratina is a small bee
they are basic black, short hair
for bees ID you need to study the abdomen
small farms were about 100 acres
animal were replace by tractors
hybrid corn was introduced
Farms grow fewer crops
this is not good for bees (like growing corn or soybeans
honey bee colonies were lower because of herbicides.
page 108 or 40% done
takes out two fruit for one being picked
all from bee pollination
on this one farm there are 50 species of bees
need to plant good bee flowers
bees need a wide amount of flowers throughout the year
tongues to short for pollen or nectar (bee tongues)
thee are long or short tongue bees
need bees nest next to the flowers
Bees have to have comfort being right next to other bees
to survive the winter a fat cell needs to be much! First born might not live p.115
wild bees work in watermelon fields
one native bee is about equal to 5 to 7 honey bees
study with wild pollinators…wild bees fly in bad weather produce better pollination,
native bees help out honeybees
these bees “all they do is eat” p(123-125)
85-95% of their lives are in the next
look in the tropics for bees (in the ground pollen/nectar)
where bees are: warm and dry climate
Arizona has great locations for bees.
taxonomy is a dying field (bees get lumped together)
he guesses he IDed 30000 bees each year
about 15% of bees are parachutes
bees are insects…they are born on their food
bees like sleeping upside down
75% of the flower plants have animal pollinators
pollinator have decreased, some due to climate change…and habitat change
Bees in the grass P.143
The state of Delaware and Rhode Island is the land dedicated to golf courses
Turfs become a pollinator area
page 149 or 53%
Halictus is the more dominate bee – or the sweat bee
bee is abundant by it’s life style
produced many generations in a year
what the bees eat determine the size of other bees
The power of scen6, could be used for trickery, mark flowers, could be wscents of turn off.
2 million golfers have a handicap (golfers)
animals do like golf courses
pollination “patch”
native bee balm
remove grass and put in flowers for pollinators (grass and flowers)
Do we want our lawn to be static?
land of lawns started to increase after WWII
grass loves nitrogen…it almost magical!
grass clipping help provide nitrogen
bees like dandelions and clover
making of a bee lawn:
brown belted bumble bee like flowers in the grass
seeds needing less water and mowing
needed good grass, slow growing grass
Test: they chose hard fescue, and they chose 64 native & non native flowers, then the flowers were mowed. Those plant still alive “made the first cut”. The next criteria was flowering. Only three ended up making in intothe the current bee lawn seed mix. These were self heal, creeping thyme, and Dutch white clover.
p. 163 or 58
These plants had to flower.
all flowers had different type of bees
do we need to retrain our eyes?
rethink normal
There is also a tickle bee! (hmmmmm)
Is their any baseline for native bees?
The sunflower project
bees like sunflowers
2.5 seeds per visit (?????) sunflower pollination
Name: melissodes – honey bee a long-horned bees
pollen caring rear legs
A specialist bee with the wrong pollen (problems) these bees nest in the ground
bees pick what is familiar, some traits, common food, comfort food, at larva
20000 bees over 9 families P. 177
Diadasia- bees that build
like a chimney
bees nest is their castle
sometimes they dig I=or drill with its head
the bee uses regurgitated nectar
bees can expire!
bees/insects looking at the bee bowls (water traps)
the build connection to other people bee/biodiversity
bees are resilient

3 thoughts on “Our Native Bees: North America’s Endangered Pollinators and the Fight to Save Them by Paige Embry (January book)

  1. I am sorry to say that I will not be able to make tomorrow’s get-together, but here are some of the things I would have said.

    Over all, the book was beautifully put together. The pictures were fantastic (and also creepy). Do the e-readers get the photos? If not, borrow a hard cover version to view them.

    Many of my comments or questions are “how do they know?” and I think she should have prefaced many of her points with “as far as we know.” “Every Franklin’s bee has historically lived within a 200 by 70 mile oval.”

    As far as the Greenhouses killed the Franklin Bee, I’d say be careful what you wish for. Unexpected results often occur.
    Moving bees in and out of cultivated fields and taking them distances from their home to pollinate must be confusing to the bees. How does the bee keeper know when he’s got all his bees in the boxes to take them back home. Who counts the bees?

    Baby honey bees get fed 250 a day!!!

    How do you keep domestic bees from “escaping” to the wild. How do you keep them down on the farm once they’ve seen Paris.” (Sorry ’bout that.)

    The main thing I see about the bees is making sure that the right bee is in the right place at the right time. It’s amazing to me that the pollinators are so fussy about their pollen.

    Paige throws a lot of figures around, sometimes to the point I was getting confused. I can’t visualize that at any every given moment, we likely share the world with about ten quintillion individual insects.

    Overall, I enjoyed the book, although I wouldn’t want to read another “bee” book for awhile, I did learn a lot about pollination. I think I give the book a 4.

    Enjoy the discussion –



  2. Notes of bees that I found interesting:

    From: https://inhabitat.com/its-official-cell-phones-are-killing-bees/
    Scientists may have found the cause of the world’s sudden dwindling population of bees – and cell phones may be to blame. Research conducted in Lausanne, Switzerland has shown that the signal from cell phones not only confuses bees, but also may lead to their death. Over 83 experiments have yielded the same results. With virtually most of the population of the United States (and the rest of the world) owning cell phones, the impact has been greatly noticeable.
    Led by researcher Daniel Favre, the alarming study found that bees reacted significantly to cell phones that were placed near or in hives in call-making mode. The bees sensed the signals transmitted when the phones rang, and emitted heavy buzzing noise during the calls. The calls act as an instinctive warning to leave the hive, but the frequency confuses the bees, causing them to fly erratically. The study found that the bees’ buzzing noise increases ten times when a cell phone is ringing or making a call – aka when signals are being transmitted, but remained normal when not in use.
    The signals cause the bees to become lost and disoriented. The impact has already been felt the world over, as the population of bees in the U.S. and the U.K. has decreased by almost half in the last thirty years – which coincides with the popularization and acceptance of cell phones as a personal device. Studies as far back as 2008 have found that bees are repelled by cell phone signals.
    Bees are an integral and necessary part of our agricultural and ecological systems, producing honey, and more importantly pollinating our crops. As it is unlikely that the world will learn to forgo the convenience of cell phones, it is unclear how much they will contribute to the decline of bees, and their impact on the environment.

    From: https://inhabitat.com/its-official-cell-phones-are-killing-bees/
    Bees are relatively small and often unappreciated animals, but they do a whole lot for us. Through their daily buzzing from flower to flower, bees ensure the survival of 90 percent of the world’s wild plants and more than 30 percent of the food crops we eat (apples, citrus fruits, berries, onions, broccoli, almonds, and avocados, to name a few). And of course, we can’t forget about the honey they tirelessly produce. According to USDA reports, in 2017 2.7 million honey-producing colonies made 1.5 million pounds of raw honey.
    Environmental factors
    Climate change, widespread use of pesticides and genetically modified crops, and habitat change/loss all play a role. There is also mounting evidence that the global adoption of EMF (Electromagnetic Field) radiation-emitting wireless technology is partially to blame.


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