Images courtesy of Ari Daniel Shapiro. Facts
Honey bees, along with ants, are two of the most familiar social insects. Colonies of these insects usually consist of a single reproductive queen and overlapping generations of her sterile daughters. Workers divide the labor of foraging, caring for young, and mending and defending the nest. Other insects that show a high degree of sociality include wasps, termites, and thrips.
There are some four thousand native species of bee in North America. The 45 native species of
bumble bees are social, but all the rest are solitary, meaning that each bee nests, forages, and raises her young alone. Bee Observer Cards
Bee Observer Cards provide information about key traits and techniques necessary to make accurate and useful scientific observations about bees. Bee Quiz
Bee or not-a-bee? Take our quiz and see if you can tell a bee from a clever mimic. Why imitate a bee? By looking like an insect with a painful sting, these insects may be less appealing to predators. Click on the images below to learn more.
Citizen Science Connections
The Xerxes Society for Invertebrate Conservation devotes part of their website to
native bees. You can learn about the biology of some of our native species, and learn how to join in citizen science projects to save bees and other endangered pollinators.
According to historian and beekeeper Tammy Horn, honey bees were brought to eastern North America by British colonists in the 1600s. You can read about the bees’ spread through their adopted country in
Bees in America: How the Honey Bee Shaped a Nation (University Press of Kentucky, 2009).