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March Article
Minnesota Native Bees!

You have probably heard about the plight of our insect pollinators in the news lately. Populations of bees and butterflies have crashed due to habitat loss, pests and diseases, pesticide use, and possibly climate change. There are many species of native bees in Minnesota which have experienced population declines. Starting to learn about bees is a first step in pollinator conservation.  Here are five common types of bees in Minnesota, many of which you can create habitat for on your own land:

Andrena Spp.
Photo by Heather Holm
1. Mining Bees- Andrena spp. - Nests in the ground and
is active during the spring, early summer, and then later in the fall. They are small to medium- sized bees with short tongues (which effects which flowers they visit) and are mostly black with hairy white or yellow hairs. They can only travel approximately 500 yards from their nesting sites. Some of the native plants these bees visit the most are spring-flowering native woodland species, Golden Alexander, aster species, and goldenrod species.

Agapostemon Spp. 
Photo by Heather Holm
2. Green Sweat Bees- Agapostemon spp.- These are small to medium- sized bees that are active from late spring until fall.  They have short tongue lengths so they prefer to visit native plants with shallow flowers they can land on and collect pollen and nectar. They nest in the ground in colonies and are very brightly colored. Females are mostly all green while the males have a metallic green head and thorax with a yellow (or white) and black striped abdomen.  They like to visit New England Aster, Harebell, Purple Prairie Clover, Blazing Star Species, Pale Purple Coneflower, and many other native plants.

Melissodes spp. 
Photo by Heather Holm
3. Long-Horned Bees- Melissodes spp. - These bees also nest in the ground and are active in the summer and fall. They are medium-sized bees with a medium to long tongue that lets them reach inside flowers to get nectar. These are hairy, robust bees that have pale bands of hair on their abdomens.  The males have long antennae giving them the name Long-Horned bees. Prairie Coreopsis, Turtlehead, and Culver's root are just a few of the many plants these bees visit. 
Ceratina spp. 
Photo by Heather Holm

4. Small Carpenter Bees- Ceratina spp.These are  very small bees that nest in pithy stems or wood. They are active from early spring until late fall and have a medium sized tongue length. They are often blue, black, or metallic looking and can fly approximately 200 yards from their nests. Harebell, Wild Lupine, and Spiderwort are visited by this small bee, as well as many other native plant species.
Bombus borealis on 
Obedient Plant
5. Bumble Bees- Bombus Spp. - These are large bees that nest in colonies in the ground, old rodent holes, leaf litter, and less commonly in bird nest boxes or sheds. They are active in the spring to late fall and they have a medium to long tongue length. They are black with yellow, white, or orange hairs and they can fly a mile away from their nesting site to forage for food! They are important species because of their ability to pollinate certain foods using "buzz pollination", where they grab the flower and buzz at a frequency that causes the pollen to fall out onto their bodies. Bergamot, Horsemint, Hoary Vervain, and Golden Alexander are a few examples of the native plants bumble bees love to visit.

The descriptions above were shared by ecologist and local author, Heather Holm.  Her wonderful book Pollinators of Native Plants is an excellent source of information on our Minnesota bees.  We recommend this book as a valuable resource when deciding to add Minnesota native plants to your landscape to increase diversity and pollinator habitat. 

Many cities are making an effort to grow public awareness on our native pollinators' situation. For example, St. Paul will be installing small bronze bee statues around the city, as well as pollinator houses that will serve as bee habitat.  Their hope is that these will be a constant reminder of the importance of pollinators, and encourage the use of native plants around the city. Native plants are especially important to plant in urban areas where bees with such short flight distances need places to forage in between large areas of pavement. Fortunately, education on pollinators is becoming more common in Minnesota.
Natural Shore has made a commitment to our pollinators.  We do not use harmful pesticides in our greenhouses. We pledge to consistently educate ourselves about pollinators by working with entomologists, attending conferences, and reading the latest scientific research regarding their status. We also pledge to constantly review and alter our installation and maintenance practices to help benefit and promote pollinator habitat. We hope you will make your own pledge to help pollinators! 

Thank you to Heather Holm for providing beautiful bee pictures and helping to edit this newsletter article!
Company News!

Natural Shore Has Moved! And we are having an open house!

Thursday May 19th

We have moved a mile from our Maple Plain location to a new office in neighboring Independence, MN. Our new location will allow us to better serve our clients' needs. 

Our new retail nursery address is:
1480 County Rd 90.  Independence MN 55359

Look for more details on our new location soon!

Native Plant of the Month
Bebb's Sedge  
Carex bebbi

Moisture: Wet or Moist
Exposure: Full Sun
Color: Green
Height: 2-3 Feet

A clump-forming, cool-season perennial with interesting fruit heads.  This fine textured sedge has crowded fruit heads that are green at first, then maturing to deep brown. It thrives in full sun or part sun in wet to mesic calcareous or neutral soils.  You can find it in wet meadows, calcareous fens, marshes, lake shores, and streambanks.  The fruit heads are even a food source for various wildlife. Click here to see other sedges available at Natural Shore!
Invasive Plant of the Month
Siberian Squill
©2005 Peter M. Dziuk
Scilla siberica
Exposure: Part Shade/Sun
Moisture: Moist
Height: 3-6 Inches
Blooms: March-May

This is a very pretty but very invasive spring flower that escaped from gardens and is still sold in the ornamental business. It is cold and deer tolerant so it does well in Minnesota. It can also resprout from broken pieces you try to pull out. It has small, 1 inch wide blue flowers with a darker blue streak down the middle. The flowers have 5 petals. Leaves are light green and look like grass, about 5 inches tall and a quarter inch wide. Management strategies include manual hand-pulling small infestations, mowing to prevent seeding, and select herbicide treatments. Native replacements of these plants can be Harebell and Blue Eyed Grass!
Insect of the Month
Green Sweat Bee
Agapostemon spp.
Range: Southern Canada down to Argentina
Habitat: They nest in the ground in sandy loam. 
Adult Identification: These bees have bright green heads and thoraxes with a black and yellow or white striped abdomen. They are small in size (7mm-15mm) with short tongues (2mm-6mm) which means they prefer to visit open flowers instead of deep, enclosed flowers for food. 

Pollination: Adults feed on pollen and nectar from 
Harebell, New England Aster, Pale Purple Coneflower, Purple Prairie Clover, Blazing Star Species, Black Eyed Susan, Grey Headed Coneflower, and other shallow flowered plants. 

Most of this information is from local author Heather Holm's book Pollinators of Native Plants available on Amazon. It is a great resource for native plant and pollinator information!
Employee Profile of the Month
Janna Jonely
Maintenance Crew Manager
Janna has come to us to manage a maintenance crew. She has experience in various restoration roles in both private and public organizations. Janna has a Bachelor of Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she majored in Botany and Biological Aspects of Conservation.  More recently, she completed a Masters of Professional Studies in Horticulture at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.  Janna enjoys reading, cooking, and hiking.  Whenever she gets a chance, she loves to work on personal mini-restoration projects at the cabin in Winter, WI and her parent's home in Madison, WI.
March 2016 Issue
Our Company
Retail Nursery News
Our retail nursery is currently closed for the season.  For 2016 plant orders, contact Jill at

Click and visit our website for current
Minnnesota Native Plant Brand ensures that plant species are native to Minnesota. 
Upcoming Events!

Come visit Shirley at our booth at the 6th Annual Spring Garden Fair! Sat. March 12th 8:30am-3pm at the Southshore Center 5735 Country Club Road Shorewood, MN 55331

Shirley will also be presenting at the 6th biennial horticultural day Spring Alive! hosted by the MN River Valley Master Gardeners. Her presentation will be "Using Prairie Plants in your Garden". The event is Sat. March 19th at South Central College in North Mankato.
Join us for the Minnesota Native Plant Society's annual Symposium April 2, 2016 at 8:30 am - 5:00 pm
Bell Museum, 10 Church St. SE Minneapolis, MN 55455

Visit us at Plymouth's Home Expo  6-9 p.m. Fri., April 8 and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Sat., April 9 at the Plymouth Creek Center Fieldhouse,  14800 34th Ave. N. Plymouth, MN 55447