>> Monday, January 31, 2011
With more than 4,000 bee species native to North America, plus imported species such as the honey bee, these colorful insects are one of the easiest types of wildlife to attract to your garden. You might have more bees in your garden than you think—there are more black, blue, and metallic green species than the easily recognizable black-and-yellow ones. Most rarely sting, and all are extremely important pollinators of wild and agricultural plants. In fact, one third of the food we eat is the result of animal pollinators, the most important of which is the bee.
- Stinging is often a reaction to threats to the hive. As a result, aggression is higher in hive-forming bees. Fortunately, the vast majority of bees are not hive-formers and only sting if severely harassed.
- Honey bee stingers are barbed. When a bee stings someone, she tears a piece of abdomen, causing her death. Some wasp species can sting repeatedly.
- If you are allergic to bee stings but love to garden, see your doctor and keep appropriate medications handy. Make sure your family and neighbors know of your allergy and what to do in case of a sting.