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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Bee, Definition of

Author
item Cane, James

Submitted to: Bee Culture
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: October 16, 2002
Publication Date: May 1, 2007
Citation: Cane, J.H. 2007. Bee, Definition of. In: Shimanuki, H., Flottum, K., Harman, A., editors. ABC & XYZ of Bee Culture. 41st edition. Medina, OH. A.I. Root Company. p.78-80.

Interpretive Summary: Honey bees constitute a small genus of highly derived bees. Bees as a group are ubiquitous, often predominant wildland pollinators. Today, 16,000 species of bees are known. They have proliferated wherever flowers grow. Several hundred species of bees exist at most locales. Sociality is unusual among bees outside of equatorial regions. Bees differ from nearly all of these other flower-visiting insects in gathering pollen to feed their grub-like progeny. Bees are vegetarian. Bees annually pollinate some $5-10 billion in U.S. crops, for which honey bees are often essential, including many tree fruits and important seed crops like sunflower. Alfalfa for seed is pollinated by managed non-social bees, and some valuable vegetables like squashes and pumpkins are entirely pollinated my unmanaged specialist native bees. Some native cavity-nesting solitary species are being explored and developed as manageable pollinators for fruit and seed crops.

Technical Abstract: Honey bees constitute a small genus of highly derived bees. Bees as a group are ubiquitous, often predominant wildland pollinators. Today, 16,000 species of bees are known. They have proliferated wherever flowers grow. Several hundred species of bees exist at most locales. Sociality is unusual among bees outside of equatorial regions. Bees differ from nearly all of these other flower-visiting insects in gathering pollen to feed their grub-like progeny. Bees are vegetarian. Bees annually pollinate some $5-10 billion in U.S. crops, for which honey bees are often essential, including many tree fruits and important seed crops like sunflower. Alfalfa for seed is pollinated by managed non-social bees, and some valuable vegetables like squashes and pumpkins are entirely pollinated my unmanaged specialist native bees. Some native cavity-nesting solitary species are being explored and developed as manageable pollinators for fruit and seed crops.

Last Modified: 10/30/2014
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