Meet The 4,000 Bees That Aren’t Honeybees

A new guide called "The Bees in Your Backyard” offers a look at the various bee species in North America.

by Cari Jorgensen
PHOTO: nokum/iStock/Thinkstock

Sure, you know all about honeybees and bumblebees, but what about the rest of the 4,000 species that inhabit the U.S. and Canada? If you’re not familiar with them, don’t worry; you’re not alone. Bee expert and biology professor at Utah State University, along with bee biologist Olivia Messinger Carril, has written a book called The Bees in Your Backyard which provides an introduction into the various bee species of North America.

So what bees might be in the guide besides the honeybee and bumblebee? There’s the carpenter bee, the largest bee in North America. This black and somewhat pesky bee is the size of a quarter. Perdita minima is the smallest species of bee and is about the size of a gnat—just big enough to cover George Washington’s nose on that same quarter, according to The Washington Post. The Colletes resembles a honeybee with its “striped abdomen, furry thorax and large compound eyes.” The female southeastern blueberry bee pollinates “nearly 6,000 blueberries in her lifetime.” Other bees included in the book are Habropoda, Anthophora, Osmia, Andrena and many others.

If you want to attract some of these species of bees, plant annual and perennial sunflowers, asters, goldenrods and cactus.

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