College of Natural Resources, UC Berkeley

Singing the Praises of Native Bees

July 14, 2009


From Bay Nature:

Gordon Frankie is a UC Berkeley professor and a native bee expert. Bees are his unmitigated passion. But before you walk out the door to talk to him, drop anything you think you know about honey-making hive-dwellers. For him, the most important bees are the ones you probably see every day--but have never heard of.

Turns out that none of the 1,600 known species of native California bees are anything like these transplants from across the Atlantic. Our homegrown bees can be green, black, or even red. They range in size from giant bumblebees to some that are barely visible to the naked eye. Some are as furry as a Sasquatch. Others are smooth and metallic. They mostly live alone or in small groups, sleeping in burrows or bivouacking on flowers at night. They are roughly split between male and female, they don't have queens, their stingers don't get stuck in your skin, and, lastly, they don't make honey....

Read "In the Key of Bee" at

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