Native bees are perhaps the most important component of the pollinator landscape. With over 4000 species in the United States, they carry the lion’s share when it comes to pollination responsibilities.
When most people think about bees and pollination, the typical picture of a honeybee comes to mind. But these type of bees are not native to the United States; they were introduced during European settlement, and then escaped domestication to form swarms and set up nesting areas. Since introduction, they have become an important part of pollination; however, they tend to pale in comparison to their native counterparts who have a better ability to pollinate native plant species such as pumpkin, cherries and blueberries.
Honeybees are also unable to pollinate tomatoes or eggplants. Some species of native bumblebees are also able to forage under cold, rainy and cloudy conditions, unlike honeybees who cannot.
Native bees come in many different shapes and sizes, they also differ in their lifestyles, the places they visit, and the seasons in which they are active. For brevity, this website will describe three major native bee groups divided by phylogeny. The groups discussed are Apidae, Halictidae, and Megachilidae