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Books I've Authored
- Pollinators of Native Plants (2014; Pollination Press)
- Bees: An Identification and Native Plant Forage Guide (2017; Pollination Press)
- Wasps: Their Biology, Diversity, and Role as Beneficial Insects and Pollinators of Native Plants (2021; Pollination Press)
- Common Native Bees of the Eastern United States (2022; Adventure with Keen)
- Specialist Bees
- The Bombus Among Us: Bumble Bee Basics
- Native Predatory Wasps: Their Role as Pollinators and Beneficial Insects
- Forget Television - The Real Entertainment is Happening Outside in Your Pollinator-Friendly Garden
- Asters and Goldenrods: Autumn’s Pollinator Banquet
- The Buzz About Native Bees
- The Pollination of Native Plants
- Habitat Matters: Lessons Learned From Enhancing Native Bee Habitat on Blueberry Farms
- Attracting Bees and Beneficial Insects with Native Plants
- Restoring Ecosystem Functionality and Biodiversity
- Selecting Native Trees and Shrubs that Support Pollinators
- Attracting Bees and Beneficial Insects to your Fruit and Vegetable Garden
I am the author of four books: Pollinators of Native Plants (2014), Bees (2017), Wasps (2021), and Common Native Bees of the Eastern United States (2022). Both Bees and Wasps have won multiple book awards including the American Horticultural Society Book Award (2018 and 2022 respectively). My expertise includes the interactions between native pollinators and native plants, and the natural history and biology of native bees and predatory wasps. My work has been featured in the New York Times, Minneapolis Star Tribune, and many local publications. I am also an accomplished photographer and my pollinator photos are frequently featured in print and electronic publications.
The Bombus Among Us - Bumble Bee Basics
Bumble bees (Bombus) are by far our most charismatic and recognizable native bees. In order to help our bumble bees thrive, we must understand their life cycle and nutritional needs. Heather will illustrate the bumble bee life cycle through the growing season; the importance of selecting the right native (woody and herbaceous) plants to meet the nutritional needs of the queens, workers, and males; their habitat; the impacts on populations from climate change; and common upper Midwestern and eastern bumble bee species. She will also feature species in decline including the federally endangered rusty patched bumble bee.
The monarch butterfly is probably the most famous insect specialist (the caterpillars only feed on milkweed), but did you know that many native bees are also specialists? Female native bee specialists or oligoleges, only collect pollen from a narrow range of native plants; this could mean just one plant genus or many genera that belong to one plant family. Heather will highlight many of these native plant-bee specializations as well as the overlapping habitat requirements of the bees and plants. The presentation will also include the threats to specialists such as habitat loss and climate change.
Native Predatory Wasps: Their Role as Pollinators and Beneficial Insects
Native bees and predatory wasps share the same lineage and also share many behaviors and habitat requirements. Predatory wasps feed their offspring invertebrates (insects and spiders) and bees diverged from this carnivorous diet to feed their offspring plant-based food (pollen and nectar). Flower-rich landscapes provide critical habitat for both adult bees and wasps because they each consume flower nectar; in addition, wasps need diverse, flower-rich landscapes to hunt for their prey. Heather will highlight many amazing natural history and biology facts about native wasps illustrating their nesting habitat, prey specificity, and the ecosystems services they provide—pest insect population control and pollination.
Asters and Goldenrods: Autumn’s Pollinator Banquet
Asters are critical late summer and fall forage for native bees including many pollen-collecting specialists. Heather will explore the nutritional components of the nectar and pollen of asters and their fall-blooming cousins the goldenrods, and demonstrate the importance of these two groups of plants for native bees as well as migratory pollinating insects such as butterflies.
What's the Buzz About Native Bees
This presentation explores the nesting habitat, life cycle, pollen collection, brood rearing, and general characteristics of common genera of native bees occurring in the Midwestern, Eastern United States, and southern Canada. The pollination of native plants and the mutualism between native plants and native bees is also highlighted. Heather also discusses the presentation of floral resources and how the physical characteristics of bees can influence the bees' effectiveness as pollinators.
The Pollination of Native Plants
This presentation is a fascinating journey showcasing the development of different flower types and the presentation of floral resources to pollinators. Exploring the types of insect pollinators, their foraging behavior, and the floral features that attract pollinators, Heather will provide many specific examples of how native plants are pollinated and what pollinator is most effective and why.
Habitat Matters: Lessons Learned From Enhancing Native Bee Habitat on Blueberry Farms
In this presentation you will learn about the current research project I am working on in Minnesota and Wisconsin blueberry farms. I discuss the project objectives and reasons for studying native bees on blueberry farms, the sampling methods, native bee candidates (for blueberry pollination services), the nesting habitat of the bees, and the native plant forage recommendations. The presentation also explores the habitat evaluation of the farms, and the considerations for what kind of forage could be provided for the native bee candidates pre, and post-blueberry bloom.
Attracting Bees and Beneficial Insects with Native Plants
Most insects have a positive impact in our landscapes. Native plants can be selected to attract specific bees and beneficial insects including predatory and parasitic wasps, beetles, flies, true bugs, and lacewings. Learn about the predator-prey relationships of these flower-visiting beneficial insects and how they help keep problem insect populations in balance. The life cycles, diversity, and nesting habitat of native bees will also be covered along with examples of native plants for different site conditions.
Restoring Ecosystem Functionality and Biodiversity
How can humans benefit from green infrastructure and ecological landscape restorations? Heather will discuss ways we can achieve a sustainable coexistence with the rest of life on earth. Models of restorative landscaping including residential and community opportunities will be highlighted as well as thoughtful plant selection, ecosystem functionality, and how biodiversity can be maximized. A focus on pollinator habitat and outcomes, trouble shooting and monitoring of restorations, and funding opportunities will also be included in the presentation.
Selecting Native Trees and Shrubs that Support Pollinators
While most trees are wind-pollinated, the ones that are insect-pollinated provide important forage for pollinators, especially in early spring. Learn about which canopy trees, small trees, and shrubs are insect-pollinated and the types of pollinators each plant attracts. Factors influencing pollinator visitation including flower structure, flower resources, flowering phenology, and the plant community where the woody plant occurs will also be discussed.
Attracting Bees and Beneficial Insects to your Fruit and Vegetable Garden
Learn about the importance of insect pollination and the bees responsible for pollinating the fruits and vegetables we grow in both home and commercial landscapes. Heather will discuss in detail the genera of bees responsible for the majority of the pollination and the additional forage (flowering plants) one needs to provide to ensure that the 'flower buffet' is always open, even when the fruit or vegetable plants are not in flower. Also discussed are the beneficial insects that the native flowering plants will attract and how these insects can help reduce insect pest populations in your fruit or vegetable garden.
Heather Holm is the author of four books. Her first book, Pollinators of Native Plants, was published in 2014, and her second book, Bees, published in 2017, has won six book awards including the 2018 American Horticultural Society Book Award. Her latest book, Wasps, was published in February 2021 has won five book awards. Heather's forthcoming guide, Common Native Bees of the Eastern United States (Adventure With Keen) will be available in March 2022. Heather’s expertise includes the interactions between native pollinators and native plants, and the natural history and biology of native bees and predatory wasps occurring in the Upper Midwest and Northeast.
I offer a number of free pollinator handouts and resources, free to download: https://www.pollinatorsnativeplants.com/plant-lists--posters.html