The buzz on native bees

By Kailey Roberts, the Daily Sun

Large moths with their wings carefully spread, small beetles, and several bee species fill the display boxes of pinned insects sitting on the tables in the Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church’s main hall.

Standing in front of this display, Kristen Potter, an insect physiologist at Northern Arizona University, speaks to the Master Gardeners Association to give them “the buzz on native bees.”

“About 75 percent of all flowering plants on Earth rely on animals to transfer their pollen, that makes about one in every three bites you eat,” says Potter, as she points to a power point slide with pictures of fruits and vegetables. “I would like to point out that chocolate is on that list,”

In fact, bees are so important to flowering crops that captive honeybees are sometimes driven from crop to crop at different times of the year to help pollinate plants around the country. However, due to a number of factors such as disease, habitat loss, and pesticides, bee colonies are currently on the decline. Both feral and captive bees have been threatened by these issues, but this is why the native bee species are especially important.