America’s four thousand species of native bees flit about the countryside in the shadow of their charismatic cousin, the honey bee, a colonial-era European import. In my book, I turn the light on our myriad native bees and show people how varied, fascinating, and useful they are.

This book isn’t a guide to bees, although it does have many beautiful photos (almost none of which are mine). This book is the story of a long-time gardener’s discovery and exploration of America’s bees. When I learned a few years ago that honey bees can’t pollinate tomatoes but some our our native bees can, I took the first step into a previously hidden world outside my door. This book is about that world. I seek out the country’s best bee stories and meet the people involved. I visit farms, fields, labs, and even golf courses. I attend classes and hunt wild bees with scientists, and through it all, I work to evolve my tiny city garden into a haven for bees.

Bees matter. The earth looks the way it does, and we eat what we eat because of bees, yet no one seems to know it. I plan to change that. I hope to start a revolution where people throw out their weed-n-feed and start planting flowers in the lawn for the bees.