“Native bees are a hidden treasure. From alpine meadows in the national forests of the Rocky Mountains to the Sonoran Desert in the Coronado National Forest in Arizona and from the boreal forests of the Tongass National Forest in Alaska to the Ocala National Forest in Florida, bees can be found anywhere in North America, where flowers bloom. From forests to farms, from cities to wildlands, there are 4,000 native bee species in the United States, from the tiny Perdita minima to large carpenter bees.
Most people do not realize that there were no honey bees in America before European settlers brought hives from Europe. These resourceful animals promptly managed to escape from domestication. As they had done for millennia in Europe and Asia, honey bees formed swarms and set up nests in hollow trees. Native pollinators have been pollinating the continent’s flowering plants since long before the arrival of honey bees. Even in today’s vastly altered landscapes, they continue to do the yeomen’s share of pollination, especially when it comes to native plants.”
Thus begins the fascinating booklet Bees Basics: An Introduction to our Native Bees. Written by Beatriz Moisset, Ph.D.and Stephen Buchmann, Ph.D., and beautifully illustrated by Steve Buchanan, it is a joint publication of the USDA Forest Service and the Pollinator Partnership. Read it here.