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How to Become a Bee Watcher

by | Jul 1, 2019 | Aggie Life, Agriculture, Spring/Summer 2019

Bee watching is a relaxing activity families can enjoy, especially in the warmer months. And bees don’t want to sting people, said Christine Casey, academic program management officer for the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven at UC Davis. “It’s easy to co-exist with bees. They’re focused on flowers, not people,” she added. Here, Casey offers tips for successful bee watching.

Start an herb garden.

Herbs consistently attract bees, said Casey. She suggested basil, thyme and oregano as low-cost, easy-to-find options.

Set out a sugar water dish.

Casey said, “Use a shallow dish with rocks bees can perch on.” A perch enables bees to more easily reach the water.

Leave the ground uncovered.

Because about 70 percent of all bee species nest underground, they can’t move in grass or mulch. Too much of either will keep bees away from your backyard, warned Casey.

Buy some reference books.

Recognizable bees include carpenter bees, which have large, black females, and bumblebees, which prefer areas near water. To distinguish uncommon or region-specific bees, a reference book is helpful. Ultimately, Casey said, “Bee watching is about spending time watching your garden and observing what comes.”