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There are over 360 species of wild native bees in Toronto.
Wild bees don't produce honey and don't live in hives.
They are solitary and harmless.
The honey bee is an introduced species from Europe.
Wild bees are the most efficient pollinators. Different species still fly when it is windy or cold or rainy.
30% of Toronto's bees, and some butterflies, hibernate and lay eggs in hollow sticks and deadwood. They only emerge at the end of May. Please, keep your garden waste till then.
The hollow canes of raspberry shrubs are most beneficial for those cavity-nesting bees. Grow native raspberries, enjoy their fruit, and leave the dead canes till the end of May. If you really want to cut back, leave at least 20 cm.
70% of native bees are ground-nesting and need sunny, bare patches of soil as habitat to hibernate and breed. Keep some areas un-mulched, best in sunny spots, the more the better. Covering lightly with leaves is the second-best option.
Bumblebees emerge very early in spring and males can still be seen until late in fall.
Other species of wild bees have a very short window in which they emerge and collect nectar & pollen to deposit with their eggs. They rely on native, co-evolved plants that bloom at exactly that time they emerge. The different kinds of bees also depend on the specific physiology of the native plants with which they have co-evolved.
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