Guide to Native Bees in North Carolina

Here is a “honey” of a bee book that can be a guide to the identification of some of the more than 500 “other” North Carolina native bee species visiting the flowers in pollination gardens or flower beds. This book is published and distributed by UNC Press for NC State Extension and is described as follows:

“Identifying bees on the wing is known to be tricky. The Bees of North Carolina: An Identification Guide is a beginner’s resource designed to help quickly and generally identify native bees in North Carolina. Developed by experts at NC State Extension, it provides an overview of some of the most common groups of bees in the state. The guide will help users learn to recognize bees according to key characteristics and, eventually, according to their overall appearance.”

Thanks are due to authors Hannah Levenson, Graduate Research Associate, Entomology & Plant Pathology at NC State University and Dr. Elsa Youngsteadt, Assistant Professor, Extension Urban Ecology Specialist, for this excellent publication. The authors mention that even in December and January, you may often see Small Carpenter Bees (Ceratina), Sweat Bees (Lasioglossum) and Metallic Green Sweat Bees (Augochlora) out foraging with your honey bees on warm days.

The guide is available now to download as a FREE pdf file HERE

Paperback copies will be available from UNC Press for $14 in January 2020 and are available for pre-order HERE

Here are a few selected images of native bees that have visited our Burlington apiary and garden.

Female Cuckoo Leafcutter bee (Coelioxys) on Anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)

Mining Bee (Andrena) on Serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea)

Long-horned bee (Melissodes bimaculatus) on Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia)

Metallic Green Sweat Bee (Augochlora) on Cranesbill Geranium (Geranium maculatum)

Sweat Bee (Halictus ligatus) on Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)

American Bumble Bee (Bombus pensylvanicus) nectaring on Giant Blue Lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica)

Flowering in Alamance County, NC

At noon on Sunday, November 24, 2019, bees were flying and foraging on the Climbing Aster (Ampelaster carolinianus) in the apiary. This not only included honey bees, but also Bumblebees and small native bees. Honey bees were nectaring and gathering pollen. This member of the Asteraceae plant family is a native perennial vine that produces abundant pale purple to lavender flowers beginning in late October. It grows with support from a trellis or fencing to 4 to 5 feet tall, and frost does not seem to impede the flowering. It attracts both bees and butterflies well into November here in the Piedmont of NC. The plant does better in full sun, but will survive in partial shade.

Pollen gathering honey bee on Climbing Aster (Ampelaster carolinianus)

In flight honey bee approaching a Climbing Aster flower (Ampelaster carolinianus)

Links to UK National Honey Show Presentations

Under “Resources,”  I have posted links to four presentations presented at the 2018 National Honey Show in Surrey, England by Dr. Clarence Collison. He writes monthly column “A Closer Look” for Bee Culture magazine. He is an Emeritus Professor of Entomology and Department Head Emeritus of Entomology and Plant Pathology at Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS.

BEGINNING BEEKEEPING COURSE 2020

We would like to announce that starting on January 21, 2020 the Alamance County Beekeepers will start the 29th consecutive year of offering a Beginning Beekeeping Course. The objective of the course is to create an interest in beekeeping and provide information needed for a person to become a keeper of honey bees, a beekeeper. No prior experience is required to take the course. This is a 24-hour course, 20 hours in the classroom and 4 hours in the field. The structured classes start, as noted above, on January 21, 2020 and will continue each Tuesday evening from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM. through April 4th. All class sessions will be held in the auditorium of the Ag Extension Office located at, 209 N. Graham Hopedale Rd, Burlington, NC 27217.

At the completion of the classroom instructions, we will have a Field Day on Saturday, April 4th, depending on weather. During the Field Day, we will spend 4 hours in a bee yard to gain hands-on experience in working with the bees.

It’s best to register in advance to assure you have a seat and course materials. The room can only hold 50 people comfortably, so be sure to register early. The cost of the course is $85.00. This includes $10.00 building usage fee, $25.00 for Local and State dues and hand books. If your spouse or other member of your family wants to take the course and you can share the books, then the cost for the additional person would be $35.00. To register in advance, please send your name, address, telephone number, e-mail address along with your payment to: PO Box 215, Elon, NC 27244 Please make check payable to Alamance County Beekeepers.

If you live in the Burlington area, you most likely won’t need directions to the Ag Building; however, if you are coming from out of town one simple way to get to the Ag Extension Office is to get off I-85/1-40 at exit 145 and head toward downtown Burlington. This street is Maple Avenue. Stay on Maple Avenue through the center of Burlington until you get to Church Street, turn right travel approximately 2.1 miles until you get to Graham Hopedale Road, turn left, travel one block and the Ag Building is the first building on the right.

We would also like to announce that in 2020, the Alamance County Farm Bureau will again be sponsoring a Cost-Share program. This is a program where a number of people are awarded two hives each, along with a package of bees for each hive. Applications for this program will be available on the first evening of the class.

Even though you have registered in advance, we would like for you to come a little early, maybe 6:00 PM, on the first night, January 21st, so that we will have time to issue name tags and handbooks and still be ready to start our class at 6:30 PM.

If you know someone interested in taking this course, we would appreciate you sharing the above information with that person. This course announcement will also be posted on the Alamance County Beekeepers Web Site – <https://alamancebeekeepers.org>

Hope to see you on January 21st

Download the Announcement Here!
Download Course Class Schedule Here!

Bees wanna swarm!