©Clay Bolt | beautifulbees.org
A trip into the world of bees offers a glimpse into the extraordinary. Each day, from the flowers that you pass on your way into the office, to the fields, forests and bare patches of earth, life and death struggles for survival are taking place, the outcomes of which will ultimately affect our own lives. Take notice and take care of bees. Spray less. Mow less. Provide a little shelter. That would be a great start. Pictured: Metallic Green Bee (Augochlorella sp) on Bee Balm (Monarda didyma).

Mason Bee (Heriades sp), South Carolina, USA, ©Clay Bolt | beautifulbees.org
My family and I live in a cabin of sorts. It is situated in a lovely little patch of woods, which is home to a wonderful variety of wildlife. One of the first things you learn when moving to the country is that there isn’t much of a boundary between your walls and the boundaries of the creatures living just beyond them. Sometimes those boundaries are shared. When we first moved out into the country just over eight years ago now, I was a somewhat surprised (for some silly reason) by the number of animals that would make an appearance in our home or use our walls as their shelter. However, over time, I have come to love the fact that lizards disappear into the cracks and phoebes nest high above our front door each year (in spite of the fact that they love to decorate our front door with their droppings for a few days…admittedly not a big fan of that). Now that I’ve focused my work on bees, my son Ethan and I –my very talented bee hunting partner– have noticed another very tiny resident, a Mason Bee (Heriades sp, Neotrypetes), who has set up her home in our walls.

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A Cuckoo Bee (Holcopasites calliopsidis) is dwarfed beside a dime. © Clay Bolt | beautifulbees.org | meetyourneighbours.net

A Cuckoo Bee (Holcopasites calliopsidis) is dwarfed beside a dime. © Clay Bolt | beautifulbees.org | meetyourneighbours.net

It is tempting, when starting a new project, to rush around in a desperate attempt to cover all of the bases. Believe me, this is something that I know all too well having initiated a few projects over the past few years. However, I promised myself before beginning this odyssey to get to know North America’s native bees that I would take the scenic route. I have no real deadlines and no definite conclusion that I’m driving toward other than my desire to help others realize just how important our native bee species are to our world, how amazing they are and all that they do for each of us on a daily basis.

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