One logical question following the discussion of tomato pollination, and the decline in honey bees is “what can I do to promote native bee populations?”
Several great publications are available to discuss how to do this.
- The most comprehensive is put out by the Xerces Society:
Gardening for pollinator insects has many resources info on building nesting boxes, choosing plants, and creating a bee-friendly garden or farm. (and, a native bee tomato pollination fact sheet!)
- The Tucson Bee labs also has a bee garden guide
- Berkeley has a City Bee Garden guide, although their garden builder is still under construction.
- Plants for Osmia, or orchard mason bees.
- If you really want to get deep in to the subject, check out this index of pollination resources from the National Biological Information Infrastructure.
If you really want to expand your native pollinators, I’d suggest looking into mason bees or orchard bees. They are available for purchase, but you can also create your own nesting boxes and encourage growth of the local population. (Xerces has detailed instructions).
Support your local bees! :)