Plant species that are native to North Carolina can be used in landscaping to encourage natural nesting, or as a source of nest materials for bee hotels. Some of these native species are rather weedy, and some of the non-native species are invasive and should not be planted; these species are bold and highlighted red (Swearingen and Bargeron 2016). Even these problematic species, when present, can be harvested for nesting materials to include in bee hotels. This list is not exhaustive, and you could experiment with any number of dried perennial stems as nesting material. Bees rarely nest in live plant material but will use dead twigs and dried stems.
Table A3-1. Plants that produce hollow or pithy twigs that can be used for nesting materials in bee hotels.
|Latin name||Common name||Native to North Carolina*||Bees recorded|
|Cirsium||thistle||mixed (C. arvense and C. vulgare)||Megachile|
|Erianthus alopecuroides||silver plume grass||yes||Ceratina|
|Lactuca biennis||wild lettuce||yes (M, P)||Ceratina|
|Phragmites australis†||common reed||mixed|
|Rhus||sumac||yes||Ceratina, Heriades, Hoplitis, Hylaeus, Megachile|
|Rhus glabra||smooth sumac||yes||Heriades|
|Rhus typhina||staghorn sumac||yes (M, P)||Ceratina|
|Rosa||rose, wild rose||mixed||Ceratina, Megachile, Osmia|
|Rubus||blackberry, dewberry||mixed||Ceratina, Hoplitis, Hylaeus, Osmia|
|Rubus idaeus var. strigosus||raspberry||yes (M)||Ceratina|
|Sambucus canadensis||elder, elderberry||yes||Ceratina, Hoplitis, Hylaeus, Osmia|
* Plants that are only reported to genus often include a mix of native and non-native species. Where species are native to only part of the state, they are indicated with M (mountains), P (piedmont), or C (coastal plain). Native status from (Weakley 2020).
Publication date: July 6, 2022
Other Publications in How to Manage a Successful Bee Hotel
- What is a Bee Hotel?
- Meet the Residents
- Bee Hotel Design and Placement
- What If Bee Hotels Aren’t Actually Good for Bees?
- Appendix 1. Bee Hotel Checklist
- Appendix 2. Plants with Leaves and Fibers Used as Construction Materials in the Nest Interior
- Appendix 3. Plants that Produce Hollow or Pithy Twigs and Stems Used by Nesting Bees in Eastern North America
- Appendix 4. Building Plans for a Simple Bee Hotel Shelter
- Appendix 5. Additional Resources
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