Common Native Bees

A Look at the Common Native Bees of the Western United States

Bees are beloved garden visitors that are essential to a healthy ecosystem. We welcome their arrival and celebrate their vital work as pollinators, supporting the growth of flowers, plants, and trees. Today let’s take a look at the Common Native Bees of the Western United States.

Common Native Bees

Bees are a fascinating group of insects with an enormous diversity of color, size, habitat requirements, and floral preferences. There are over 4,000 species of bees in North America, and most of those can be found in the western United States. You will enjoy this handy booklet to identify common bees and learn how to make your own backyard or garden into a place that welcomes these buzzing insects.

Designed for ease of use, the booklet is organized by group for quick identification. The professional photographs showcase more than 170 species—including bee look-alikes, such as beetles, flies, and moths. 

Written by debut author Ryan Bartlett, founder of the educational organization Colorado Native Bee, Common Native Bees of the Western United States features species found west of the 100th meridian (from western North Dakota down to western Texas and all the way to the Pacific Ocean).

The four bees highlighted in this blog show a small example of bee diversity. The Augochlorella pomoniella (Peridot Sweat Bees) are small, beautifully green bees that are generalists when foraging and primitively eusocial ground nesters.

Common Native Bees

Bombus vosnesenskii (Yellow-faced Bumble Bees) belong to the Apidae family, home to Bumble, Digger, Longhorn, Squash, Carpenter, and other bees.

Common Native Bees

Often the size of bumble bees, Brachymelecta californica (California Digger-Cuckoo Bees) are mostly found in the southwestern United States. Most bees in this genus carry floral oils, in addition to pollen, and can be found on plants that generate large amounts of oils. Many female species of this genus have red eyes, while the males have yellow or green eyes.

Common Native Bees

Megachile parallela (Pugnacious Leafcutter Bees) belong to the Megachilidae family, together with the Resin, Pebble, and Mason Bees.

Common Native Bees

Book Features:

  • Pocket-size format—easier than laminated foldouts
  • Professional photos showing key markings
  • Easy-to-use information for even casual observers
  • The author’s “Top 10 Things You Can Do for Bees”

About the author: Ryan Bartlett lives in Denver, Colorado, with his wife and two daughters. Born in New Mexico, he later moved to Colorado, where his love of nature led him to establish Colorado Native Bee, an educational organization spotlighting more than 950 species of native bees in the state. Through Colorado Native Bee, Ryan has spearheaded outreach to educate others about the importance of native plants and native pollinator conservation. Ryan enjoys speaking in various settings, including schools, conferences, state parks, and state legislature hearings, in an effort to elevate native pollinators and our understanding of them.

Common Native Bees of the Western United States is available beginning August 15th. Pre-order your copy here!

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Liliane Opsomer
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