Beyond the hive: finding homes for native bees
Honeybees get all the press and the fancy hives but there are more than 300 species of native bees that toil away silently, pollinating our crops before retiring to their seldom seen underground homes. Major factors contributing to pollinator decline include loss of flowering plants and nesting habitat.
University of Florida Extension delivered programs on gardening and managing habitat for native bees to 175 Master Gardeners and 557 Florida residents engaged in gardening, land management, restoration or conservation. In addition, state researchers have been studying the environmental impact of creating native wildflower habitats in out-of-play areas on golf courses.
Follow-up surveys showed 97% of program participants reported increased knowledge on native wild bee biology, diversity and conservation. Also 86% reported that they were more or significantly more likely to buy recommended plants for bees and 94% reported being more likely to adopt recommended management practices for bees.
One golf course converted 5 acres from maintained turfgrass to pollinator habitat. Another has identified 8 acres to convert from managed turf to pollinator habitat over the next few years. In addition, Florida has identified a network of more than 30 other golf courses throughout the state that are interested increasing native bee habitat.