What do you know about bees and wasps? I would assume probably as little as myself. For most of my adult life, I believed that all bees/wasps stung (not true). The only bees/wasps I knew were the common ones that did sting, like bald-faced hornets, yellow jackets, bumblebees and others. Over the summer, I have been photographing and identifying several of our common native bees and wasps.
But thanks to Heather Holm at www.restoringthelandscape.com/, I have been learning about pollinators. She has 4 beautiful downloadable posters on bees and wasps at her website.
Although I am just beginning my “pollinator experience”, I feel like a whole new world has opened up to me. I can spend an hour standing in the same spot entranced by what I am seeing. The experience connects me with nature in a wonderful new way. It also helps to have a good macro lens on your camera to catch some of the action.
Another thing I have learned is that very few of the native bees/wasps sting. Even the large Great Black Wasp, does not sting. That really changed things for me because I am severely allergic to bees and I carry a bee kit with me. If I do get stung, I put some clay or crushed plantain on the wound within a minute and usually I will have no reaction.
In past three weeks I have observed that specific flowers attract wasps. Some of those include: Rattlesnake Master, Dogbane, Mountain Mint, Boneset and Field Goldenrod. It was during the peak flowering time of each species that I saw the heaviest concentration of pollinators. I did not see what bees and wasps were attracted to in June and have not seen what plants will attract insects in September.
It has been a good beginning. I am looking forward to continuing to learning about these beautiful and unique creatures.