Hi, I’m Clay Bolt. I’m a natural history photographer who has embarked on a multi-year adventure to tell the story North America’s native bees through words, images and video. North America is home to over 4,000 known species of native bees whose services are worth an estimated $3 billion dollars per year to the US economy in the agricultural sector alone. It’s time to celebrate their extraordinary beauty, their value to our world and the challenges that they face each day. We need bees!
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.
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.