While I am very excited about starting my honeybee colony, I would be remiss if I didn’t have at least one post on native bees here in Austin. There are hundreds of varieties of native bees in our area that each do their part in pollinating plants.
There has been a lot of emphasis on Colony Collapse Disorder affecting honey bees and their ability to pollinate commercial crops, but the real story should be how the use of chemicals and pesticides have killed a lot of the native pollinators which used to do the heavy lifting. The honey bee was not native to the United States until it was introduced from Europe so it was humans who helped create this dependency on honey bees to pollinate a lot of our food crops.
I am by no means an expert on native bees, but Texas Bee Watchers is an excellent site to learn a bit more about our native friends. It even has good links on creating a Nest Box to attract solitary bees to your garden. I also found their list of bee friendly plants to be very informative, and if you take a look, a lot of the plants are native and/or adapted plants suitable to the Texas climate. You won’t see a lot of bees on the “six packs of color” you find in your big box nurseries.