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Cover Farming for Bees

Thanks to Adrianne from our NOFA-NY Certification office for this practical and helpful blog!

honey_bee_bee_insect_218160.jpg As farmers and gardeners we know how important bees are  for pollinating our crops, maybe you even have a honey bee  hive. Native bees are responsible for the largest percentage  of crop pollination, yet often overlooked when considering  natural resource management and conservation measures  for agriculture. There are 4,000 species of native bees in  North America and like all wildlife they are deeply affected by  changes on the landscape, from hedgerow composition to  tillage practices. In the last several years, the public has  become aware that honey bees have been declining because of Colony Collapse Disorder, but most people don’t know that native bees are also suffering from population decline and range reduction from disease, nutrition and pesticides.

Where do native bees live?

Bees are savvy navigators on the landscape. When suitable habitat is available they are able to utilize the most unlikely of options. Nests can be built underground, hollow places such as dead reeds, dead wood, or created by biting holes into living wood. Bees environmental needs are as variable as there are species. Some solitary bees prefer to have their own nest hole, but be surrounded by neighbors of the same or different species. Some need small rodent holes to start their underground tunnels. Most bees prefer sunny places that are unlikely to flood. Look for potential nest sites on your property to get started.

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