Ditch the Lawn, Save the Wild Bees
What an average person knows about bees would not go far in a trivia contest. Most people don’t know that honeybees were imported from Europe to what would become the United States in the early 1600s for honey, wax, medicinal pollen, and extra income on smallholder farms. Most eaters also don’t realize that thousands of native wild bees help to sustain our food supply.
“There are around 4,000 native bees in America that don’t create honey and don’t sting: tiny bees the size of a grain of rice. And they are important pollinators,” says U.S. wildlife biologist Sam Droege. He leads the U.S. Geological Survey Native Bee Laboratory.
Agricultural policies and world goals to end hunger focus on increased production but don’t yet adequately protect wild pollinator habitat. “Lack of knowledge about wild bee species diversity, habitat, and wild bee contribution to agriculture is a blind spot in conservation and public policy,” says Droege.