PHOTO: josé Fernandes/Flickr
Rachael Dupree
May 3, 2016

As farmers, we’re a bit obsessed with bees—and rightfully so! Both native bees and honey bees are critical allies in growing the food we love to eat. In fact, according to the National Resources Defense Council, bees are responsible for pollinating 30 percent of the world’s crops and 90 percent of wild plants. But sometimes in celebrating the hard work that bees perform, we forget to celebrate the bees themselves, in all their myriad sizes, colors and shapes. However, one bee-obsessed photographer is seeking to change that.

In his project “Beautiful Bees,” photographer Clay Bolt is touring North America to showcase the diversity in our continent’s bee population. According to his website, 4,000 bee species contribute to producing an estimated $3 billion per year in food crops, and he wants to get an up-close-and-personal look at how these insects are affecting farms and the people working them. He writes:

“I want to be present on a farm at dawn when the first squash bees arrive. I’d like to witness metallic Blue Orchard Bees in California as they visit the almond trees, and tune into the buzz of a blueberry bee as she vibrates her flight muscles to dislodge pollen from creamy-white blueberry flowers. Along the way, I’ll be documenting not only lives of the bees that I encounter, but the people’s lives that they impact.”

Check out more Bolt’s work on his website, Facebook or Instagram. Below is a sneak peak of what you’ll find.


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