Sometimes you hear them before you see them. You may even be afraid of them. But the more you know about bees, the more you can appreciate these unique insects and how they provide us humans with much more than just honey!
Bees may be black, brown, or banded with white, yellow, or orange stripes. All bees are covered with hair, but some have more hair than others. They are specialized insects called pollinators that gather nectar and pollen from flowers. As pollinators, they play a very important role in ecosystems worldwide.
When we think of bees, we usually think of honeybees. They make the sweet honey we eat and the beeswax we use to make candles and other products. Honeybees are considered “cultivated bees,” as humans who want to use them for honey and beeswax production have usually brought them into an area from another part of the world. But did you know that there are more than 4,000 species of “native bees” in the United States? Native bees are those that have always lived in an area and are able to survive without help from humans. These bees don’t make honey or beeswax that we can use, but they do pollinate many of our plants and food crops. They do this so much that they are called the “super pollinators.”