This past spring I officially launched Beautiful Bees: a multi-year project focusing on North America’s native bees. It has been an incredibly rewarding experience so far and I’m only getting started. One species that I hope to draw special attention to is the Rusty-patched Bumble Bee (Bombus affinis). This is an insect that has declined 87% in the last 15 years due, at least in part, to an introduced Eurasian pathogen. This species is the perfect poster-child for many of the continent’s threatened species. Project partner, The Xerces Society, has…

This past September I paid a visit to Madison, Wisconsin where I was searching for the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee (Bombus affinis); a species that is in serious decline due to an introduced pathogen. I was fortunate to not only find the RPBB but also many other species that share the same habitat. One insect that really made an impression on me was this male Fuzzy-legged Leafcutter Bee (Megachile melanophaea). Most bees are more interested in escaping once I’ve netted them for photography. However this impressive creature stood…

In case you’re interested in following the project in other places I recently released two pieces: One with some fun facts on North American native bees for Mother Nature News and another detailing some of the wonderful challenges of identifying North American Native Bees for National Geographic’s Voices Blog. Check them out if you have time! And if you’re interested in older posts visit the “In the News” page.

This past September I paid a visit to Madison, Wisconsin where I was searching for the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee (Bombus affinis); a species that is in serious decline due to an introduced pathogen. I was fortunate to not only find the RPBB but also many other species that share the same habitat. One insect that really made an impression on me was this male Fuzzy-legged Leafcutter Bee (Megachile melanophaea). Most bees are more interested in escaping once I’ve netted them for photography. However this impressive creature stood…

Where has the summer gone? One of the frustrations of being an insect photographer is the inevitable end-of-season blues, when the cooler temperatures blow in and remove almost all traces of your favorite subject matter. Although we still have some time left for summer here in South Carolina, the first signs of the season’s wind down have begun. The katydids are quieting down at night and the field crickets have begun to hint at their end of season song. I no longer hear the frogs singing in the…

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…

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…

A close-up view of Holopasites calliopsidis. ©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…

I’m proud to share that I’m currently finalizing the artwork for a beautiful new indoor and outdoor exhibition featuring native North American bees and other pollinators at the Roper Mountain Science Center in Greenville, South Carolina. The exhibition, which is being by a partnership between Clemson University and RMSC, will feature six large panels at 48″ x 36″h and 15 additional images that will be displayed inside the center’s education building.