Saturday, July 1, 2017

Learn the secrets of native bees

Ohio State Extension

Observing and identifying bees used to be reserved for the select few scientists with access to powerful microscopes and detailed identification guides.

With close-up photography, powerful binoculars and user-friendly field guides, now anyone can learn to identify common bees. And an upcoming series of bee biology and identification workshops can help get people started.

Olivia Carril, a biologist and author of Bees in Your Backyard, will travel to Ohio in August to teach the workshops from Aug. 2 through Aug. 5 at locations in central and northeast Ohio. The workshops are titled Bees in Your Backyard … and the Plants They Visit, and each includes hands-on bee identification using microscopes as well as field experiences with plant and bee experts.

“Native bees are beautiful, abundant and fascinating,” said Carril. “They range from brilliant red to emerald green, as small as a mosquito to as large as a man’s thumb, and they seldom live in hives.”

And yet many people don’t know how interesting and diverse Ohio’s native bees are, said Denise Ellsworth, program director of the Honey Bee and Native Pollinator Education Program in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University. The college is one of the sponsors of the workshops.

“The first step in bee conservation is recognizing and understanding the bees in our own backyards,” Ellsworth said.

Across Ohio, many residents are concerned about the plight of bees, including honey bees, bumble bees and the over 400 other species of bees native to Ohio, she said.

“With the addition of the rusty patched bumble bee to the endangered species list, more attention than ever is focused on bees,” Ellsworth said.

Each of the workshops is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and costs $65 per person, which includes lunch and handouts.

The workshop locations are:

Aug. 2: Huston-Brumbaugh Nature Center at the University of Mount Union, 16146 Daniel St. NE, in Minerva
Aug. 3: Stratford Ecological Center, 3083 Liberty Road, in Delaware
Aug. 4: The Dawes Arboretum, 7770 Jacksontown Road SE, in Newark
Aug. 5: Mill Creek MetroParks Farm, 7574 Columbiana-Canfield Road, in Canfield
A free lecture and book signing will be at Franklin Park Conservatory, 1777 E. Broad St., in Columbus on Aug. 3 at 7 p.m. Carril’s book features detailed photography, natural history tales, and diagrams and details aimed at making bee identification accessible to the interested naturalist or gardener.

To register for a workshop or the free lecture, visit

The deadline to register for the workshops is July 21.

For more information, contact Ellsworth at


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