RENEGADE GARDENER

The lone voice of horticultural reason

Best Websites for Bee Knowledge and Identification

Buzz About Bees and University of Wisconsin’s Wild Bee Identifier

Are you like me? You know your bees? That’s a bumblebee. That’s a honeybee, I think. Look out, that’s a wasp. What’s that, a wasp is not a bee?

So you are like me. You don’t know how to ID bees, either. Here are two websites that make it fun and fairly easy to identify the broad range of bees that you will encounter as they perform one of nature’s most crucial tasks: pollinating plants.

A visit to Buzz About Bees is a fun trip (bring the kids), where you’ll learn that there are around 25,000 types of bees in the world, and tons about everything bee. The site also contains information on how to start beekeeping, and what plans to grow on your property to grow bee populations and encourage bee health. Click “Bee Identification” in the left column, and you enter a nice photo primer that will get you started acquiring the skills you need to ID the bees that visit your property.

Here’s the site: www.buzzaboutbees.net

Another site very useful at making you an expert at identifying bees is the University of Wisconsin’s Wild Bee Guide, and while it is limited to bees found in Wisconsin, this will include bees you’ll find across the entire Midwest. The “Identify by Picture Matching” option is very cool, it’s done with photos, so you simply click prompts based on photos until you arrive at the bee you’ve discovered in your garden.

OF SPECIAL NOTE TO MY WISCONSIN READERS: The end purpose of the guide is that Wisconsin residents can identify the kinds of bees they encounter, then submit their findings directly to the university. This will help U of WI research and monitor bee populations in the Badger State. Very important, and I hope that more universities across the US follow Wisconsin’s lead.

Here’s the site: http://energy.wisc.edu/bee-guide/

Don Engebretson
The Renegade Gardener