I have a massive archive of natural history photographs, and have learned to not let them pile up without curation. Nonetheless, a bit of a backlog has accumulated and I've been trying to spend some time each day whittling away at them. When everything is neatly labeled and placed in the appropriate folder, I can lay hands on anything in no time flat. Anyway, today I was working through an unprocessed folder of stuff from Shawnee State Forest (Scioto County, Ohio) from April 26 of last spring (2017).
Reviewing these images reminded me of the hour or so I spent prostrate on the ground, watching and photographing a constant procession of tiny native bees to the fleabane flowers. And once again, I was reminded just how vital these largely unnoticed insects are to the health of our native plant communities.
Nonnative honeybees, Apis mellifera, are certainly the best-known pollinators among the general public. However, these social hive-dwellers are probably of little consequence to the pollination of our native flora. While they certainly do visit native flowers, their role in pollination of these plants is probably not critical. Honeybees' primary importance is in pollinating nonnative plant crops. It's the myriad native bees and other insects, mostly ignored, that do the heavy lifting when it comes to pollination of native plants.
Heather Holm, it contains a wealth of information about the identification and natural history of our various groups of bees, along with great information on native plants. Get a copy HERE.