Visit the USGS Native Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab to learn more about our native bees and view their incredible gallery of photos like this one of Augochlorella aurata, a sweat bee native to the eastern North America.

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Our Bees

There are about 4,000 bee species in North America and about 400 of them can be found in VA, MD, and DC. But their numbers are declining and many are threatened or endangered. Read about some of our more common bees and enjoy a few photos from the USGS Native Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab.

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Beekeeping is an increasingly popular family activity. But there are concerns about the impact honey bees - a non-native species - might have on our native pollinators. As beekeepers, we believe that, if done responsibly and with some limitations, the benefits of keeping honey bees outweigh the negatives. Read about what it takes to become a beekeeper and connect with local beekeeping and native pollinator resources.‚Äč

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Mason bees are native bees. They are more efficient pollinators than honey bees - by some estimates 30 to 50 times more efficient. They are more likely than honey bees to stay close to home so they will be of greater benefit to you garden. And, because mason bees don't have a queen or honey stores to protect, the don't sting. Read about creating a natural habitat for mason bees or adding a bee hotel to help them thrive.

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