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 friendly, fascinating, and useful they are. Without bees the entire natural world would change and our larders would be a lot less varied and nutritious.
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 and fields, 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.