This is the tri-coloured bumble bee, which can be mistaken for the rusty-patch bumble bee.
The tri-colour bee has two bands of rust as opposed to the single band of the endangered rusty-patch bumble bee.
A few months ago I went to a bee seminar hosted by Sue Chan.
Before going to this talk, I was certain about getting honey bees.
After Sue's presentation I changed my mind, or at least I decided to put our own honey bee plans on hold.
I feel that I need to learn more and help out our native pollinators.
They do so much for us and yet their numbers are dwindling just like the domesticated honey bee.
While in the gardens this summer, the kids and I have been more aware and curious.
Who are these pollinators?
Where do they live?
How do they live?
What flowers do they favour.
The suspected causes of decline are essentially the same as the domestic honey bee.
Climate change, the use of pesticides, habitat loss, and disease.
Here are some of the things that we have done and will be doing for our native pollinators.
1. Plant fruit trees and bushes.
This doesn't just benefit the bees, but you and your family as well!
I find the bees love flowering herbs, dill, borage, oregano, lemon balm,
just to name a few.
2. Plant a wide variety of flowering plants that bloom throughout the
Be sure to include early bloomers, there seems to be a loss of early- blooming species.
3. Learn about who is pollinating your gardens.
Learning more will help you understand them and their needs.
If you want to follow the Rusty-patch bumble bee project you can find them on Facebook.
Get out there and see who is pollinating your garden!
(Editor's note: The photos in this post were taken by Kira in our garden.)