About 50 garden club enthusiasts recently attended a Central Maine Garden Club presentation about the vast amount of bees that are in the United States and in Maine.

The U.S. bees species number about 4,000 and Maine has more than 270 species representing 12 families, according to a news release from Donna Sawyer with the Waterville-area club.

State apiarist Jennifer Lund Submitted photo

Jennifer Lund, the state apiarist, gave a presentation on 12 families of bees, including a wide range understanding of their nesting, foraging and social behavior.

Bumblebees are generalist foragers visiting from their hibernation site in early spring to search for a suitable nesting site, usually in rodent burrows, grass tussocks and in tree cavities. The colony can grow to 200 individuals as the season progresses.

The Leafcutter and Mason Bees are mostly solitary, where each female constructs and provides her own food (pollen and nectar), and an egg.

In Maine there are approximately 49 species. The most common are Megachile and Osmia. The Osmia are early spring foragers. This makes them important fruit tree pollinators in many areas. These leafcutter bees wrap their brood in leaves to protect their larvae from predators.


Lasioglossum or Sweat Bees are 52 species in Maine. They are attracted to animal sweat, which they drink for salt and micronutrients.

Once Lund continued sharing details of the many other bees, she showed slides of Native Bee nests. These nests were formed from various wooden shapes with holes drilled for bees entrance.



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