When the Bees Come Back to the Presidio

Hundreds of rare bees make a surprise return to San Francisco.

San Francisco’s Presidio, at the northern most end of the peninsula, is known for many things: as a former military base; as a wonderful place to bike; as a prime spot to view the Golden Gate Bridge, among other attributes. But recently, the protected space is getting attention due to an unexpected visitor, a species of bee called the silver digger with an unusual flying pattern and penchant for sand. Even stranger, the bee hasn’t been seen in the city for almost a century.

The discovery of a thriving native bee colony on the western side of the Presidio is actually no small victory for San Francisco, which was once a sweeping panorama of open sand dunes. It is, experts say, the latest example of how the removal of invasive plants and the restoration of dunes and grasses at the former military base have helped bring back lost species that had thrived for tens of thousands of years in the coastal habitat before the city was built.

“It’s just another testament of several over the last decade of the restoration work that’s going on here,” said Jonathan Young, a wildlife ecologist for the Presidio Trust. “We’ve put in 18 years working at that site. People want instant gratification, but ecological gratification takes a long time. Now we are seeing the fruits of our labor.”

Read more about the silver digger bees and their auspicious return to San Francisco here.

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