Does the idea of raising bees get you buzzing? Compared to social bees, solitary bees are easier to work with and observe. Read about the benefits of raising solitary bees in your backyard, and find out what all the buzz is about!
It takes a special person to pick up – and maintain – beekeeping as a hobby. There’s protective gear to put on, hives that must be built, and a smoke-out process that requires research and technique. For beginners interested in bees, raising solitary bees can be a great introduction to the craft!
Though there’s no honey to harvest, raising solitary bees offers so many other benefits – both for the beekeepers and the environment. Check out five fantastic perks of raising solitary bees.
A Safer Way to Raise Bees
As their name suggests, solitary bees are solo creatures – which means they aren’t submitted to the same pressure of protecting a communal hive as seen with honeybees or wasps. In fact, solitary bees are extremely uninterested in attacking intruders or defending their turf.
Solitary bees are non-aggressive and very rarely sting humans. This is great news for people who have a fear of stings or want to introduce younger children outdoor hobbies. Of course, there are exceptions, like when a bee gets trapped underneath clothing or a person purposely squeezes a solitary bee between their fingers. Naturally, those situations can provoke a sting, but overall, getting stung by solitary bees is exceptionally rare.
No Need to Sweat the Swarm
Another perk of solo bees? They don’t swarm! When a group of social bees decide to swarm, you certainly don’t want to get caught in the way. Because they go about their business on their own, solitary bees are not likely to swarm, making them a relatively safer bee to interact with.
Honeybees may get all the spotlight when it comes to famous pollinators, but solitary bees are great at spreading pollen, too – some even argue they’re better than honeybees at the task. This is because they don’t have pollen baskets on their legs like honeybees do. Therefore, solitary bees likely drop a lot more pollen as they fly, making them awesome super-pollinators and an excellent champion of biodiversity.
Read also: Forget Bees—These Birds Pollinate Flowers
Speaking of biodiversity, did you know that there are over 200 species of solitary bees? It’s true! As with the more popular bee species, like bumblebees and honeybees, their habitat is increasingly under threat. But the difference here is that solitary bees don’t always get the attention and efforts needed to support them in their survival.
As environmental enthusiasts know, the more biodiversity, the better – we need to support the survival of as many pollinator species as possible to keep the ecosystem in best form. Raising solitary bees is a great way to support the survival of overlooked species.
Great for Small Yards
Finally, solitary bees don’t require much room at all to nest! Unlike honeybees that require large hive boxes, solitary bees can be raised in urban settings with very limited yard space. Solitary bee houses can be as small as a square foot!
Solitary bees are known as hole-nesting bees. They can make their home in just about any tiny space with a shallow tunnel, including hollow stalks or tubular holes in dirt, clay and wood. If you’re keen on building your own solitary bee house, you can do so with a few biodegradable materials. Some examples are bamboo stalks, cardboard rolls, or wood blocks with tubular holes drilled inside.
Raising solitary bees is a fantastic hobby that’s easy to pick up and has awesome advantages for the environment. By bringing so many benefits to their surroundings, it’s easy to see why these little solo fliers are the bee’s knees after all!