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Native Bees

Honey bees aren’t from around here, they are native to Europe, Western Asia, and Africa.

There are over 3,500 species of native bees in North America, but many of their numbers are drastically declining due to habitat loss and pesticide use. When we talk about saving the bees, we should focus on our native bees in trouble! Many of the foods we love, such as potatoes, tomatoes, and blueberries, must be “buzz pollinated” by native species such as bumble bees, carpenter bees, and sweat bees. Honey bees are unable to buzz pollinate. That is why at South Hill Apiaries, we have created a native bee garden, to give our native bees more flowers to drink from and more habitat to raise their babies. Let's meet some of our native bee friends!


In the fall of 2019, student Leah Eddy had an idea; to establish a garden that provided a habitat for native bees. Eddy had 5 major aims for the garden:

  1. Plant (mostly) native plant species that attract native bee species

  2. Provide native bee habitats in the garden

  3. Provide a water source that is attainable for native bee species

  4. Grow generally low maintenance, perennial plants

  5. Provide resources for pollinators (focusing on native bees) for as much of the bee season as possible

By the end of the semester, the pollinator garden was born. It was populated by Raspberries, Butterfly Weed, Black-eyed Susans, and other plants that were attractive to native bees. What began as a student research project is now jointly managed by the Apiary Team and the Farming the Forest Class, aka Non-Timber Forest Products. Its contents have expanded to include New England Aster, Tall Sunflower, Spotted Bee Balm, and Lavender, forming a haven for native bees right outside our own Apiary.

Our Native Bee Garden

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