Eastern pasqueflower (Pulsatilla patens), a species of native flower found in Fish Creek Provincial Park. Native species such as Eastern pasqueflower, Northern bedstraw and silky lupin are often pollinated by native bee species.

Last week we talked about Richardson’s ground squirrels, a species of vertebrate that plays an important role in prairie ecosystems. This week, we are focusing on a smaller, but equally important group of animals, native bees.

Northern Bedstraw (Gallium boreale) and silky lupin (Lupinus sericeus), native flowers found in Fish Creek Provincial Park.

Alberta is home to some 321 species of bees, about half the number of bees in Canada. In this post, we will focus on bees in the Megachilidae family, which includes mason and leafcutter bees. Bees in this family are sensitive to disturbance, and their presence indicates a thriving bee community and a healthy ecosystem.

Commonly referred to as mason and leafcutter bees, these insects construct nests for themselves from soil and leaves, often in hollow wood or directly in the ground. These bees are solitary, and often specialise in pollinating native plants, so prairie restoration has been found to support their communities.

If you would like to learn more about the complex lives of native bees, we will be holding an event next Sunday, July 24th, with more information about native bees, and what you can do to assist in their conservation. Attendance is free, and more information is available at this link.

If you are unable to attend, never fear! Much of the information from this post is from the Alberta Native Bee Council website, which is full of information and resources on native bee conservation.

Thank you for taking the time to learn about native bees in Alberta, we hope to see you on the 24th!