This website concerns both honey bees’ and native bees’ health, including excess turnover of the former and declining numbers of the latter. Other than being mostly hairy insects that uniquely require pollen for nourishment, they are very different groups of animals with mostly separate survival issues. Honey bees are eusocial, live in large managed hive colonies and are essentially stock animals, part of a large farming industry. Native bees are solitary, mostly nest in the ground and – compared to honey bees- despite their importance in the ecosystem, are relatively unknown by the general public. They are endearing, lovely, multicolored jewels in the garden and largely responsible for our evolving North American landscape of native plants.
Both of these groups have survival issues. Honey bee winter losses result from numerous stressors – disease, pesticides, management, nourishment, queen issues and climate. The native bee population decline is due to pesticides and loss of habitat. Much agricultural research is applied toward improving honey bee disease and survival; while the plight of native bees relies on conservation work and concerned advocacy groups like The Xerces Society.
This website will provide a forum for constructive citizen science conversation about both types of bees. The site’s owner, Don Coats, DVM, retired, is a 20 year experienced beekeeper and apiary consultant. He is assisted by Tom Davis, website manager and advocate of native bees and native meadows. Consult and credibility will be enhanced by Chris Biondi, Phil Kolb, and Ray Walker who are experienced beekeepers and share similar conservation concerns.