|Ground nesting bees and their holes|
|Hibiscus Bee Ptilothrix bombiformis, digging her burrow|
In honor of National Pollinator Week, it makes sense to honor the best animal pollinators: bees. Most people are aware of how important bees are for pollination of plants, including some 70% of our crops. What they do not often realize is that we have some 400 or so native bee species in our region, most of which are not at all like the introduced European Honeybee. Honeybees were introduced into the USA in Jamestown, Virginia, in 1627. They are of course extremely valuable for the way we conduct our agriculture and to give us honey, but we need to realize that wild plants were doing fine (maybe even better) before these generalist bees arrived. While most people think that all bees are like European honeybees (living in hives with a queen, making honey, and only capable of stinging once), this really is the exception and applies to these introduced bees rather than most of the other 4,000 or so other species we have in North America.