Wild and Native Bees

The honey bee is an amazing creature and a wonder to behold.  In addition to the cherished honey, wax, and other products honey bees produce, they are often recognized as our prime crop pollinators.

But the honey bee is not alone and is actually just one in over 20,000 described bee species in the world, over 4,000 in North America, and over 500 in Oregon.  The honey bee is a non-native that first came to the Americas in the early 1600’s.  And while the honey bee is a key pollinator of many crops, there are numerous examples of native and wild bees doing major pollination work as well.

There is growing interest to better recognize our “forgotten pollinators”, to appreciate their importance in the natural world, to comprehend their contributions in agroecosystems, and do more to safeguard their future.  Another thing to consider is the impact honey bees have on native bees in competition for floral resources, especially in natural (less disturbed) areas.


The Quest To Find Every Kind Of Bee In Oregon

Oregon is home to a dazzling array of native bees. But no one knows just how many species live here, or if their numbers are declining or holding steady. People behind the ‘Bee Atlas’ project want to find out.


Native bee discoveries in Taos

TED Talk by Joseph Wilson

author of The Bees in Your Backyard 

Resources & Links


PDF file of Common Bee Pollinators of Oregon

Citizen scientist program to survey native bee populations in Oregon


Citizen Scientist Resources and Initatives

Pollinator Conservation Program

Citizen scientist opportunities to better understand bumble bee distributions with Xerces Society



Numerous interesting posts about wild and native bees by Rusty Burlew

Here's a sample

The bees in your backyard YouTube Channel

Book recommendations

  • The Bees in Your Backyard by Joseph S. Wilson, Olivia J. Messinger Carril (In TVBA library)
  • Buzz: The Nature and Necessity of Bees by Thor Hanson
  • The Solitary Bees by Bryan N. Danforth, Robert L. Minckley, John L. Neff, Frances Fawcet
  • 100 Plants to Feed the Bees by Eric Lee- M├Ąder, Jarrod Fowler, Jillian Vento, and Jennifer Hopwood (Xerces Society ) (In TVBA library)
  • Native Bees: Bees indigenous to a geographic area.
  • Wild Bees: Comprised of native bees but may also include non-natives that have naturalized to a geographic area.
  • World bee types:  Solitary ~77% (e.g.: alkali, mason, leaf cutter), Cuckoo ~12% (e.g.: Nomada brood parasite), Social and/or cooperating ~10% (e.g.: honey bees, bumble bees, stingless bees
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software