Follow the Nature in L.A. blog to keep up on research, citizen science, and the latest urban nature stories from around the city, as told by NHM scientists who live and study in L.A.
Nature in L.A.
Module - Nature Gardens Blog
This 9 ft. wide giant Japanese spider crab Macrocheira kaempferi isn’t even full sized yet. They have the largest leg span of any arthropod, sometimes reaching 12 ft and weighing over 40 lbs! This specimen was a gift from the Japanese Emporer to our lovely museum.
Module - Crustacea Spider Crab
The NHM Next campaign is transforming the Museum into one of the coolest destinations in Southern California. Want to get involved in our final phase?
Module - NHM Next - General Intro
Bee a hero! There are over 4,000 species of bees in North America alone, and scientists estimate there are upwards of 500 species in Los Angeles County alone! Many of these bees are very different to the Eurpean honey bee, Apis mellifera, we are all familiar with. Did you know that there are hundreds of species of bees that are solitary (don't live in a hive or colony) and therefore don't sting us to protect their siblings and young?
There are several things you can do to help bees. One of the easiest ways to help is by making your garden more bee friendly. Here are some tips:
Bees need flowers for nectar and pollen. Carefully select the plants you choose as bees prefer some flowers over others. They are attracted to flowers that are sweetly scented and have a "landing pad." To support bees native to your area:
Here's a list of flowering plants that are attracting lots of bees in our new Nature Gardens gardens. California native plants are marked with an asterisk.
*Bush Sunflower, Encelia californica
*Coyote mint, Monardella
Cosmos, Cosmos (especially good for sweat bees, family Halictidae)
Rosemary, Rosmarinus officinalis
Many bees are solitary and nest in the ground or in wood. You can accommodate these bees by leaving some soil exposed, having a wood pile, or even by building a bee hotel!
Bees that nest in wood are common in our area. If you can't leave dead wood in your yard, consider installing a bee hotel. There are many products available on the market, or you can build your own.
Photo taken by Hans Weingartz
Nesting Sites for Ground Dwelling Bees
Bees in the families Andrenidae and Anthophoridae are called ground nesting bees. To accommodate these bees in your yard, leave some patches of exposed soil.
(c) gumdropgas @ Flickr.com
Using toxic pesticides and synthetic fertilizers in your garden can be detrimental to bees, other beneficial insects, and other wildlife too. Eliminating use of these products, and choosing organic products instead will decrease harmful effects on wildlife.
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