What's That Bee? How to Identify and Attract Native Bees to Your Garden

Sep 5, 2017

Have you ever seen a bee buzzing around your garden and wondered: "What's that bee?"

Or have you ever seen a bee nectaring in a community garden and wondered "How can I attract THAT bee to my yard?"

Just like all floral visitors are not bees, not all bees are honey bees. However, the honey bee, Apis mellifera, is the most well known. Worldwide, there are 20,000 species of bees. Of that number, 4000 are found in the United States, and 1600 of them in California.

Here's how you can find out more about them.

The University of California Hopland Research and Extension Center has scheduled a four-hour program, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 23 on "Native Bees in Your Backyard" at two sites in Hopland and you're invited.

UC Berkeley professor Gordon Frankie and entomologist/photographer Rollin Coville, co-authors of California Bees and Blooms: A Guide for Gardeners and Naturalists, will discuss native bees. They and will be joined by Kate Frey, award-winning gardener and author of “The Bee-Friendly Garden" who will provide a guided tour of her gardens and explain what plants attract pollinators.  Her gardens are renowned for their floristic diversity, color and the habitats they provide for wildlife. 

Participants will meet from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Kate Frey Gardens and from 11:30 to 2 p.m. at the UC Hopland and Research Center,  4070 University Road,  Hopland, from 11:30 to 2 p.m. A locally sourced, honey-themed lunch, catered by Beth Keiffer, will be served at noon.

Hannah Bird, community educator at the Hopland Research and Extension Center, says attendees will "learn about some of the 1600 native bee species found in California--from the leafcutting bee to the cuckoo bee, the sweat bee to the mining bee!" They will learn how to identify them and how to accommodate their needs.

Frankie will share the research done by UC Berkeley Urban Bee Lab and Rollin Coville will display and discuss his photographs of native bees and how he captured the images.

Advance registration is required by Sept. 18. The cost is $40, which includes lunch. Click here to register. Maps and directions will be provided to registrants.

For more information, Bird can be contacted at  hbird@ucanr.edu or (707) 744-1424, Ext. 105. Hopland Research Center. All interested persons can also sign up for the Hopland monthly email newsletter,