Ohio Bee ID card now available

Ohio’s bees are more than honey bees. They’re bumble bees, carpenter bees, cuckoo bees and others, and you can identify more than a dozen of them — types you’re likely to see in your garden — using a new pocket card from The Ohio State University.

It’s just in time for National Pollinator Week, June 20-26, which is meant to raise awareness of pollinators — bees and their buddies — and the good they do for your yard, your food and in nature.

“Bees are essential pollinators,” said the card’s developer, Denise Ellsworth, who’s the program director of the Honey Bee and Native Pollinator Education Program in Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “They’re beautiful, important and diverse creatures that positively impact our lives.”

Single copies of “Common Bees of Ohio,” a 4-by-6-inch laminated card, are free to Ohio residents through June 30 by sending a self-addressed, stamped, business-size envelope to Ellsworth at Department of Entomology, OARDC, The Ohio State University, 1680 Madison Ave., Wooster, OH 44691.

Or you can buy the card now and throughout the year in quantities of 25 — good for handing out to garden clubs and the like — for $9.99 from the college’s online store at go.osu.edu/BeeID.

“We’ve already used it with gardeners, naturalists, beekeepers and others interested in learning more about bees,” said Ellsworth, who initially created the card as an in-the-field ID aid for about 100 citizen-scientists who are helping her with a pollinator study.

“It’s easy to tuck in a pocket or book to have handy in the field,” she said.

In all, the card shows you what 16 Buckeye State bees look like — including the squash bee, mason bee and mining bee, among others — along with a fly and a wasp that look confusingly bee-like. The bees’ sizes and scientific names are included.

“Most people think all bees are the same, and that bees are aggressive,” Ellsworth said. “But most bees live a solitary lifestyle and have little tendency to sting.”

Details on her work are on the college’s Bee Lab website at u.osu.edu/beelab/.