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LH 147: Gardening To Save Native Bees

LH 147: Saving Our Native Bees

With many of the foods we grow, bees are critcal. Without bees, we won’t have much of a crop at all…or we have NO crop at all.

But when you hear about the importance of bees in the media or the struggle of bees in the news…all you hear about are the honeybees.

And yet…There are OTHER bees that may play an even more important role in our backyard food system. The native bee.

And they are struggling even more.

On this episode I brought on Paige Embry (author of Our Native Bees) and we dive into that struggle and what WE can do to help.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I love honeybees too and I’ve covered them on the podcast many times. They are part of this equation too!

But in this episode, I wanted to spread the word on the plight of native bees because our gardening efforts directly impact them as well.


You will learn:

  • The difference between a native bee and the honey bee
  • What makes native bees so essential to our garden
  • Why are these bees struggling & why don’t we hear more
  • Why honey bees can’t pollinate tomatoes
  • What simple steps we can do to help
  • What is the Great Sunflower Project
  • And more…

Paige Embry - LivingHomegrown.comPaige Embry:

Paige Embry is the author of Our Native Bees: North America’s Endangered Pollinators and the Fight to Save Them (Timber Press 2018).

Her multi-year obsession with the lives of America’s native bees began with a gardening epiphany—honey bees, which came from Europe with the colonists, can’t pollinate tomatoes–but certain native bees can.

She has written for Scientific American, the Food and Environmental Reporting Network, Horticulture and others. She lives, gardens, and stalks bees in Seattle, Washington.


Resources & Links Mentioned:

Our Native Bees* by Paige EmbryOur Native Bees - Podcast

The Great Sunflower Project – a citizen scientist project – Paige’s website


Other Related Episodes:

The Magic of Mason Bees

Beginning Backyard Beekeeping

Behind the Scenes of Beekeeping



Click here for the full transcript for Episode #147

*denotes an affiliate link

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About the Author:

Theresa Loe is the founder of Living Homegrown® and the Canning Academy®. For 9 years, Theresa was the Co-Executive Producer & Canning Expert on the national PBS gardening series, Growing A Greener World®. Theresa homesteads on just 1/10th of an acre in Los Angeles with her husband, two sons and several disorderly but totally adorable chickens. Learn more about Living Homegrown here and about the Canning Academy here.