Knowing the importance of our native bees (and not just the honey bee which is not native) is critical to understanding the interrelationships of humans and their environments. Our barren green lawns do not sustain these important pollinators and their survival is key to our own. As Master Naturalists, we want to create pollinator gardens, learn about our native bees and help others understand their significance to agriculture and native, wild lands. Bee ID is a tricky endeavor, but one that will bring many rewards!
Unit 13: Entomology Curriculum Guide
The Curriculum Guide also has a list of vocabulary and an important bee diagram created by Dr. Shaun McCoshum to help you learn the parts of the bee to help you take better diagnostic photographs and understand the detailed nature of bee identification.
The PDF below is a great introduction to the types of bees you might see here in the Llano Estacado. We see many of the same bees here in west Texas as there are in central Texas.
LETMN started a Native Bee Survey of the Llano Estacado!
The native bees of the Llano Estacado will be documented in several ways including:
1. Photographic surveys of public and private properties, city and state parks, Sibley Nature Center, I-20 Wildlife Preserve, and other areas will be made and posted to projects in iNaturalist including Adopt-A-Loop (GTWT), Bees and Wasps of Texas (TNT), scheduled TPWD and LETMN BioBlitzes and any other projects representative of the Llano Estacado.
2. Representative bee collections will be made of the same above areas (with permission where required) using netting and/or traps with non-toxic dawn dish soap and water; collections are not for private use and will be eventually donated to educational or research institutions or deposited at partnering museums.
3. Educational materials for outreach programs through LETMN will be created in order to teach others about the importance of native bees, how to identify them, and related conservation concerns including such things as planting native plants, creating pollinator gardens and preserving native habitat.
4. New for 2022! Floral association. We are starting another facet of the Native Bee Survey by documenting floral association and types of bee visits. More information coming soon.
LETMN Members who wish to participate will be going through extensive training with local scientists and TPWD staff to learn to how to properly collect and identify native bees.
Bee, Wasp or Fly?
To get started on the adventure of learning to identify native bees you need to know how to distinguish them from wasps and flies. The following are some resources to learn the difference between bees, wasps and flies:
Best Bee ID Guidebook to Start
If you are interested in participating in the above project as an LETMN Member, email us at email@example.com. You can become part of the Beeple group. If you are not a member of LETMN, you can join and get started on a lifelong adventure to learn about things like native bees! Email us at the above address for more information on meetings, workshops and resources.
Beeple Group can access an area with more resources and information under the menu item LETMN Beeple Group. You will need a password to access this area.