Before this internship began, I had no idea about the breadth of native bee species found in North America. Over 4000 species of bees call North America home. Essential to the process of pollination, it’s estimated that bees help pollinate 75% of leading crops consumed by humans (Jamieson et al. 2019). Found in the same order as ants and wasps, there are seven families of bees, one of which is found only in Australia.
In fact, the European honey bee (Apis mellifera) is an introduced species on this continent— the species actually originated in Europe. Besides that carpenter bee you may see buzzing around your deck on a sunny afternoon, there are mining bees, leafcutter bees, and mason bees— just to name a few.
Below are some fantastic images from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Native Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab.
For more information on species you may find working hard in an area near you, check out the links below.