Native Bees of Texas
Since I’ve been collecting images for the “Life on the Prairie” calendar, I thought it might be fun and educational to add some individual information about some of these inhabitants of the prairie.
Lately, Della Barbato, Director of Educations has been focusing attention on insects with her “Field Trip to Deer Park Prairie” video series. So, to begin this Life on the Prairie blog series, I’ll start small: with native bees. Bees are some of the most important pollinators on prairies, and native prairie flowers are an important food source for bees. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship.
There is quite a bit of information online about native bees in Texas, thanks to some very knowledgeable people. Wildlife biologist, Michael Warriner is a wealth of information on bees. A couple of his online articles include Native Bees in Texas for NPSOT and an advanced training pdf for the El Camino Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalists.
The Jha Lab at The University of Texas at Austin offers general information about native bees and how our lives would change without them.
Texas Parks and Wildlife has a helpful page for landowners wanting to provide bee (and pollinator) stewardship: Native Pollinators and Private Lands: Native Bee Identification.
The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation has information on monitoring bees as a citizen science project.
And Texas A&M University has a page to help you tell the difference between bees and wasps.
Become a native bee land steward in your own yard, it doesn’t require a lot of space. Plant a native prairie garden! Katy Prairie Conservancy has some helpful information on building a pocket prairie. Fall is a great time to start.