Our Native Bees

North America's Endangered Pollinators and the Fight to Save Them


By Paige Embry

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A New York Times 2018 Holiday Gift Selection

Honey bees get all the press, but the fascinating story of North America’s native bees—endangered species essential to our ecosystems and food supplies—is just as crucial. Through interviews with farmers, gardeners, scientists, and bee experts, Our Native Bees explores the importance of native bees and focuses on why they play a key role in gardening and agriculture. The people and stories are compelling: Paige Embry goes on a bee hunt with the world expert on the likely extinct Franklin’s bumble bee, raises blue orchard bees in her refrigerator, and learns about an organization that turns the out-of-play areas in golf courses into pollinator habitats. Our Native Bees is a fascinating, must-read for fans of natural history and science and anyone curious about bees. 


Bees’ appearance varies hugely. Some are massively hairy like this male Habropoda excellens, the three-spotted digger bee, from Utah.

What a Bee Is

An Introduction

NATIVE BEES ARE the poor stepchildren of the bee world. Honey bees get all the press—the books, the movie deals—and they aren’t even from around here, coming over from Europe with the early colonists. In 2015, when President Barack Obama’s White House issued a plan to restore 7 million acres of land for pollinators and more than double the research budget for them, it was called the National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators. Four thousand species of native bees, not to mention certain birds, bats, flies, wasps, beetles, moths, and butterflies, reduced to “other pollinators.” Sigh.

Honey bees are fine bees. They dance and make honey and can be carted around by the thousands in convenient boxes, but from a pollination point of view, they aren’t super-bees. On cool, cloudy days when honey bees are home shivering in their hives, many of our native bees are out working over the flowers. Bumble bees do their special buzz pollination of tomatoes, blueberries, and various wild species. Squash bees wake up early to catch the big yellow squash blossoms while they’re open. The trusty orchard mason bees are such hard-working yet slovenly little pollen collectors that several hundred can pollinate an acre of apples that requires thousands of honey bees. Where are the book and movie deals for these bees?

Well, I’m making a small start for them here.

This female sweat bee, Halictus ligatus, has gotten herself smothered in pollen.

It began with tomatoes

My obsession with bees began because of tomatoes, a plant with roots deep in my Georgia childhood. The summertime table in my house always had a plate of sliced tomatoes on it. My dad grew tomatoes wherever he could: along a brick wall at one house, in the only sunny spot by some azaleas at another, in a tiny plot of red dirt outside his office door for a while. When I grew up and moved away, I, too, grew tomatoes, although with varying success in the cool summers of Seattle. Tomatoes have been a fixture in my life.

Now, tomatoes have some flexibility in their pollination requirements. Some pollination happens as a result of wind just shaking the plants, but more and bigger tomatoes result with the help of bees. Not just any bee can do it, though. It wasn’t until I was nearly fifty that I learned that honey bees can’t produce those tasty red and orange globes. Tomatoes require a special kind of pollination called buzz pollination, where a bee holds onto a flower and vibrates certain muscles that shake the pollen right out of the plant. Honey bees don’t know how to do it, but certain native bees do. I was appalled. How could I, a serious gardener for many years, not have learned that it takes a native bee—not a European import—to properly pollinate a tomato?

So I asked other people I knew, veteran gardeners and non-gardeners alike, and it turns out that I was not the slow-witted exception. Not only did the people I talked to not know that honey bees couldn’t pollinate tomatoes, many didn’t know that honey bees weren’t native to North America. None of them knew that just in the United States and Canada there are 4000 species of bees that are native. Upon reflection, it’s not that surprising. We mostly notice the troublesome things insects do: sting, eat the wood in our houses, chew up our plants. Truthfully, many of us don’t even view insects as animals, although what else could they be? Plants? Fungus? Bacteria? No, insects are animals, and many of them do good things for us, but those good things creep by unnoticed.

I often see the statistic that one bite out of every three we take is thanks to pollinators, but every bite isn’t created equal, either from a taste point of view or a nutritional one. Some of the foods that we eat the most, like wheat, corn, and rice, are either self-pollinated or wind-pollinated, but many of our most delicious fruits and vegetables are bee pollinated: strawberries, blueberries, apples, peaches, and, of course, tomatoes. Also, a good chunk of our essential nutrients are concentrated in animal-pollinated fruits and vegetables. Ninety-eight percent of the vitamin C, seventy percent of the vitamin A, fifty-five percent of the folic acid, and seventy-four percent of the lipids come from animal-pollinated plants. In a 2013 Scientific American article, University of California Berkeley conservation biologist Claire Kremen said that if the pollinators all died off, we might not starve to death, but we’d likely get some sort of vitamin deficiency disorder.

One can also put at least part of what pollinators do for us into monetary terms, although exactly what those terms are varies depending on the study. Research conducted at Cornell University found that in 2010 pollinators were responsible for adding $29 billion to U.S. farm revenues. Honey bees are the primary pollinators in commercial agriculture, and $19 billion of that $29 billion was thanks to them. Rightly or wrongly, over the latter half of the twentieth century, agriculture came to rely on honey bees. Farmers could bring in huge numbers of bees when needed and send them away when the crop was done flowering. They didn’t have the worries and extra work of keeping bees themselves or providing out-of-season forage for them.

Since the 1950s, however, the number of managed honey bee hives in the United States has declined by fifty percent, while cropland needing bee pollination has doubled. The honey bees are being swept away by an avalanche of problems: hive beetles, wax moths, foulbrood, chalkbrood, stonebrood, Nosema fungus, Israeli acute paralysis virus, deformed wing virus (and about twenty other viruses), tracheal mites, Varroa destructor (another mite), colony collapse disorder (CCD), poor diet, pesticides on the flowers we ask them to pollinate, and maybe just plain old tiredness and overwork. What will we do if the honey bees can’t keep doing the job? How important are they? Can the native bees step in and take over, or will we all be out in the yard pollinating our fruits and vegetables with our toothbrushes?

Bees and the sex lives of plants

After my “honey bees can’t pollinate tomatoes” epiphany, I set out to learn more about pollinators. An estimated 200,000 different animal species pollinate plants, most of them insects, with bees leading the way. Now, bees are insects—there’s no getting around it—and many of us don’t like insects. Scientists have managed to identify and name around 900,000 species of insects, but they think that there are more unidentified species than identified ones. Estimates for how many unidentified species are out there ranges from 2 million to 30 million. (It’s always good to give yourself some leeway, but we clearly need to be training more entomologists.) At any given moment, we likely share the world with about ten quintillion (10,000,000,000,000,000,000) individual insects. You could run screaming from this fact, but where would you escape to? They’re everywhere.

However many species there are, every adult insect has three body parts cloaked in a hard exoskeleton: a head with two antennae, a middle section or thorax with six legs attached, and the rear end, which is called the abdomen. This last has always been confusing to me. In my mind, abdomens belong in the middle of a creature, but for insects the abdomen is the last part.

Parts of a bee.

Bees vary in size from the mighty (about an inch) like this carpenter bee, Xylocopa virginica, to the tiny Holcopasites calliopsidis that isn’t much bigger than Roosevelt’s nose on a dime. It isn’t even the smallest bee in the United States. That award goes to Perdita minima.

The more I learned about pollinators, the more interested I became in the queens of pollination: the 20,000 species of bees worldwide that are largely responsible for the seeds of rebirth of three-quarters of the flowering plants in the world. I discovered that assuming, as most people do, that “bee” equals “stinging honey bee” was even more ludicrous than assuming “dog” equals “itty bitty Chihuahua.” I goggled at close-up views of compound eyes that looked pixilated like a snake’s skin; thick, luxuriant fur pelts; iridescent green and blue exoskeletons. I marveled at their diversity: bees with long tongues for slurping from flowers that hide the nectar deep, bees with short tongues that have no scruples about biting the side of those same flowers to steal nectar. I learned that the stinging potential of bees was vastly overrated. Males can’t sting—they don’t have the appropriate equipment—and females of most species don’t bother to sting unless something dire happens like getting caught in your clothes. It wasn’t just the bees’ appearance and diversity that fascinated me, but their facility at their jobs. Bees are literally built for pollination.

This female sweat bee, Augochlora pura, is from Tennessee. Sweat bees get their name because some lick up sweat. Those are her mouthparts sticking out the front of her head, and they clearly consist of much more than just a tongue.

A female Hoplitis fulgida from Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. This bee lines her nest cells with bits of chewed up leaves mixed with pebbles.

Bombus sandersoni collecting nectar in Highlands, North Carolina.

Bees have five eyes. Three are small and simple and two are compound, made of multiple facets that function as separate visual receptors. Only one of the three simple eyes is visible on the top of the head of this Hylaeus modestus, a masked bee, from Virginia.

Bees diverged from wasps more than 100 million years ago and are simply wasps that went vegetarian. The bees’ waspy ancestors (and their current wasp cousins) provided animals, living or dead, for their young to eat. Bees switched to feeding their babes plant pollen—easy to find and it doesn’t fight back. Pollen is rich in proteins, amino acids, and fats, with some carbs thrown in as well. It’s great baby food. Pollen also happens to be the flower’s equivalent of sperm, setting up a fine opportunity for a mutually beneficial relationship.

Plants are immobile, which complicates their sex lives a bit. To mix up their DNA and avoid inbreeding, plants need to move their sperm equivalent, that pollen, around. For millions of years after plants made it out of the oceans and up onto the land, wind was the primary mover of pollen. Plenty of plants still do it that way. Pine trees, ubiquitous around my Georgia childhood home, rely on wind for pollen dispersal. The coatings on cars and swirls of yellow in the springtime gutters attest to the excess needed when relying on the serendipity of the wind to get your sperm to a receptive plant of the same species. That excess represents a lot of lost resources. Having something hand carry, if you will, the pollen is so much more efficient, but how to persuade someone to do the job? The usual way—payment.

Flowering plants provide that payment, and the method has proven hugely successful. Of the roughly 300,000 species of plants that grow on land, around ninety percent are flowering plants. Not all of these flowering plants have what we think of as flowers: buxom blooms like a magnolia or smaller ones like a dandelion. Grasses are flowering plants, and so are willows and maples, none of which have conspicuous flowers. What all flowering plants have in common is a seed (a baby plant in a nice weatherproof container) surrounded by—something. That something varies from a small dry coating not much bigger than the seeds themselves to a watermelon. Mosses, conifers of all sorts, and ferns are not angiosperms. All of our foods, barring a few oddballs like pine nuts and fiddleheads, come from the angiosperm clan.

Parts of a flower.

Although angiosperms as a group evolved the payment plan to get animals to cart their pollen around, not every angiosperm works that way. Some are self-pollinated or pollinated by wind, but somewhere in the neighborhood of ninety percent of all angiosperms are thought to receive pollination services from animals ranging from lemurs, bats, and birds to moths, beetles, and flies. But it is the bees that have evolved to be the star pollinators. The payment the angiosperms supply these pollinators is nectar, a delicious, energy-laden carbohydrate drink. For bees they also provide those packets of baby food—pollen.

Most of the 20,000 species of bees worldwide collect pollen for their young to feed on, but about fifteen percent have evolved differently. Rather than collecting pollen, these mama bees sneak into other bees’ nests and lay their young there, thus avoiding all the tedious work. Many of the bees that do collect pollen have special areas on their body for storing pollen and special devices on their legs for grooming pollen into those storage areas. Many bees have gotten hairier than their wasp ancestors, the better for pollen to glom onto them. When they fly, bees build up a slight positive electrostatic charge that sucks negatively charged pollen grains onto them when they land on flowers. Bees and pollen are made for each other.

Building a picture

When I was writing the proposal for this book, I had to explain why bees were so important and it made me a bit impatient. Bees are the primary pollinators of many of our plants. The world looks the way it does and we eat what we eat because of bees. What more needs to be said? I wanted to write a book that would seduce people with stories of bees, stories that would change their views of what a bee is and what they mean to us.

My hope is that after reading this book people will be so entranced by bees that they’ll throw away their weed-n-feed and plant flowers in the lawn. I’ve traveled to farms, labs, and even golf courses hunting for the best bee stories. At the same time, I’ve worked to become a bit of a local bee nerd. I’ve spent hours helping on a local bee survey. I’ve taken bee identification classes. I’ve modified my garden, ordered bees online, and wandered around the city eyeing bees at work to see what plants Seattle’s bees really like.

In addition to learning who some of our native bees are, I’d also hoped to answer some specific questions. Are managed honey bees truly in danger of expiring? If they do, can other bees step up and keep food on the table? How are the wild bees holding up out in the wild? It’s all here—the education of one gardener about North America’s bees. I hope the stories woo you as effectively as the bees have wooed me.

When I first came up with a title for this book I called it “Honey Bees Can’t Pollinate Tomatoes: What Everyone Who Eats Should Know about America’s Bees.” Many of the stories in this book focus on bees in agriculture. What I’ve learned about how our food is grown has been as enlightening to this city girl as what I’ve learned about the bees.

I had barely started writing this book when people started thinking of me whenever they heard about bees. So when a truck full of fourteen million honey bees turned over on the highway near Seattle, I heard “I thought of you” from multiple people. And I smiled, pleased that they thought of me, but also rather wanting to wail, “Those are not my bees!” The bumble bees whose scientific name, Bombus, even sounds fat, the crazy alkali bees that climb into alfalfa flowers and get knocked upside the head again and again, the blue orchard bees that belly flop into flowers, the tiny enameled yellow and black Perdita—those are my bees. Yet I can’t leave the honey bees out. They may have come from Europe, but they’ve been here long enough to get their naturalization papers, and they work awfully hard to keep us fed. Plus, this whole book began because of what they can’t do. So before I delve into the world of our native bees, I need to talk about the honey bees, the gigantic migrant work force that supplies us with a good portion of our favorite foods.

A Bee for All Seasons

Apis mellifera, the European Honey Bee

THE LANDSCAPE IS absolutely flat. No trees, no bushes, not even a cow, mar the flatness. At this time of year (February), the plain I’m driving across is covered in low green grass with the occasional patch of flowers. Overhead the sky is a dull blue, the edges rimmed in brown. In the distance, the wide horizon shifts abruptly upward in a band of white. A very short cliff seems unlikely, but it looks like someone was building a stairway for a giant and only got the first step done. As I get closer, the step resolves into a regiment of almond trees in full bloom. All are the same height, rising slim and straight from the plain, marching in perfectly spaced rows across the pale dirt of the Central Valley of California.

The almond army in California is a million acres strong, and this particular group is just one of the many I see as I crisscross the southern Central Valley from Lost Hills to Kettleman City to Fresno, Madera, and Los Banos. All but Fresno are just little towns or small cities hardly anyone has heard of surrounded by agriculture and empty valley grasslands. Not all the trees on this vast plain are almonds. Pistachios may march side by side with the almonds for a half a mile or more. I drive on through the flatness past a surprising patch of grapes, an empty tan field, and then more almonds—almonds of all ages. Some are just first-year sticks, but in only three to four years they too will be filled with flowers and starting to bear. The almonds I see are just a small portion of the acreage that runs 400 miles up the spine of California, producing more than eighty percent of the world’s almonds and valued at $6.4 billion in 2013. And every dollar, every bag of almonds or box of almond milk or chocolate-wrapped almond in a Hershey’s bar is thanks to the biggest group of migrant farm workers in the world, the honey bees.

Almonds in bloom, and tumbleweed, in the southern part of California’s Central Valley.

When I was researching this book, I ran across a quote by May Berenbaum from 2007 buried in some Congressional testimony. Berenbaum was Chair of the Committee on the Status of Pollinators in North America, and she told the members of Congress, “Even before CCD came to light, our committee estimated that, if honey bee numbers continue to decline at the rates documented from 1989 to 1996, managed honey bees will cease to exist by 2035.” It floored me. Since then, I’ve learned a lot more about what honey bees face: disease, pestilence, famine, even flood and fire. Are we still marching toward the bee-pocalypse? I went to California for the almond bloom to try and find out.

Wonderful orchards

Gordon Wardell, the head of pollination services for the largest almond grower in the United States, stands at the end of a grove of almonds. Honey bees from twenty-four hives swirl around him as he takes one of the hives apart—with his bare hands. He wears a bee jacket with a hood but no gloves. I’m flabbergasted. He doesn’t hop around, sucking on fingers beset by stingers. Instead, he pulls off a bit of honeycomb and asks, “Want to try some almond honey?”

“I don’t really want . . .” my voice trails off as I hold up my gloved hands in explanation. I also wear a bee jacket, but I’m unwilling to take off those gloves or unzip my hood so close to the bees. Gordon kindly walks away from the billowing swarm so I can try this freshest of honey.

It drips. The comb is pliable, the honey thin and like no honey I’ve ever had; a bitter tang follows the sweet. Gordon asks, “Where else can you do that?” Nowhere in the United States, but I’m not sure if I’d want to again, considering the bitterness. Later, a commercial beekeeper will tell me that “almond honey is for the bees, not people.” I have to agree, but that juxtaposition of good and bad seems appropriate given all the controversy surrounding almonds. The “nut” (which in botanical terms is a seed not a nut) is feted for its health benefits but reviled for its water use in drought-stressed California. And then, of course, there are the bees. Around 1.7 million hives, two-thirds or more of all the commercial bees in the country, come to California each February for almond blossom time. It’s the most lucrative time of the year for commercial beekeepers.

Almonds may represent the biggest market for honey bee pollination in the United States, but plenty of other crops make use of honey bees: avocados and cherries, apples and blueberries, strawberries, melons, and more. How did we come to a place where so much of our agriculture relies on bees in boxes?

A short history of beekeeping

Humans love sweetness, and for most of history the only available sweetener in much of the world was honey. Few species of bees make serious amounts of honey because it’s unnecessary. The adults of most bee species eat out at the floral cafeteria when they’re hungry and only lay in stores (of pollen mixed with some nectar) for each kid. These bees have no need to have a larder filled for hard times because they usually die before the hard times hit, and their offspring wait out the hard times in diapause (a hibernation-like state) and don’t eat.

Honey bees are different. During the summer they collect nectar and convert it to honey for long-term storage. A foraging bee sucks nectar into a special stomach, where enzymes start to break down the complex sugars into simpler ones. Then she comes back to the hive and passes the honey into the mouth of a honey-making worker bee. This worker swishes the nectar from mouth to honey sac repeatedly and then puts the now modified nectar in a wax cell, where she fans it to reduce the water content. The result is a food source that is nutritious and shelf stable.

My southern grandmother would say the bees are putting food by, only in tiny waxen cells rather than mason jars. This preserved food is for the queen and workers to eat during the winter because they don’t enter diapause. Instead, they hunker down, shiver, and wait for the flowers to return. How much honey a hive will need for the winter depends in part on how cold and long the winters are. Forty pounds might be enough in mild areas and ninety or so where it’s colder. These are quantities worth stealing.

And stealing honey is what humans have done for millennia. Cave paintings from 13,000 years ago show men climbing trees to steal honey. The Egyptians moved beyond thieving from bee hives in trees to keeping bees in containers, which is much more convenient for the people filching the honey. The Greeks, the Romans, and the Chinese all kept bees. The Mayans had no honey bees, but a native stingless bee (Melipona) made some honey, so they kept them. Not surprisingly, when the colonists came to North America, honey bees came with them to provide delicious sweetness and useful beeswax.

To put a honey bee colony in a container, you first have to catch it, and that is done when the bees swarm. The queen and workers wait out the first part of winter, shivering and eating their stored food, but once the days begin to lengthen, it’s time to get back to work. The queen begins to lay eggs again, and the workers start caring for the resulting larvae. Numbers rise. As the flowers of spring come out and pollen and nectar are again available, bee numbers skyrocket. The hive fills, and eventually a tipping point is reached. It’s time to swarm.

The queen lays some new queens and drones (there’s no point in having these guys around until they’re needed for sex because drones don’t do any actual work). The old queen is the one who goes with the swarm, leaving one of her new daughters to take charge of the old nest. The old queen is too fat to fly, so the workers put her on a diet, feeding her less food. They start shaking and biting at her to make her move around the nest. Her egg production lessens, and surprisingly quickly—before the new queens emerge—the old queen is down to flying weight. The workers who are leaving also prepare, and they begin secreting wax for the making of the new comb.

When the moment is right, off they all go. The workers probably lumber, their bellies distended after they’ve fueled up on honey for their homeless period. The group flies to some nearby spot, often a tree branch, forming a beard of bees while they wait for scouts to search for a new hole to call home. It seems ludicrous, but while those bees are waiting they can be knocked off their perch and into some sort of box, and voilà, you’ve got a colony of bees. (Watch it on YouTube. It’s pretty amazing.)

Bee swarms can alight in unexpected places.

When colonial-era beekeepers wanted to harvest honey or beeswax, they had to destroy (or at least significantly mangle) the hive to get it. Generally, the beekeepers would wait until fall and then smoke out the bees so they could safely get at the loot. Each year new swarms had to be captured. A few innovations were developed along the way, but the biggest step to modern-day beekeeping happened when Lorenzo Lorrain Langstroth invented the movable frame hive.

Langstroth was born in Philadelphia in 1810 and became a Congregational pastor and honey bee enthusiast. A photo of him in his eighties shows a round-cheeked old fellow with swept back white hair, Ben Franklin glasses, and a ministerial collar. He doesn’t look like someone who spent much of his spare time mucking around with insects, but his book, Langstroth on the Hive and the Honey-Bee: A Bee Keeper’s Manual


  • “Designed to educate everyone from bee and honey enthusiasts to amateur gardeners and agricultural professionals, Embry’s captivating profiles of just a few of the myriad native bee species and the dedicated individuals and institutions committed to their survival are as entertaining as they are enlightening.” —Booklist

    “Guides us through the world of overlooked and obscure bee species that fill the air around us: bumblebees, masons, alkali, leaf cutters, diggers, miners and many more.” —The Wall Street Journal

    “Clear and crisp. . . . A flight path through overwhelming amounts of information.” —New York Times Book Review

    “Embry—an independent scholar—shares her enthusiasm and concerns for these lesser-known but important insect pollinators. . . . Embry writes in an easygoing, conversational style. Nicely illustrated with a variety of full-color photographs, this book is an enjoyable read, suitable for both bee enthusiasts and general interest readers.” —Choice starred review

    “A buzzworthy book if ever there was one.” —Country Gardens

    “A wide ranging, entertaining survey.” —Food Tank

    “The readability of this book to non-scientists . . . is due to her passionate interest in bees.” —Triangle Gardener

    “With vivid color photography, thorough research and humor (such as her children’s horror when they discover bees in the refrigerator), you’ll come away laughing, better informed and ready to heed her clarion call to save these indispensable insects.” —Seattle Magazine

    “Embry artfully weaves together descriptions of native bees with accounts of the state of the science from leading research programs. . . . This book will open readers’ eyes to the great diversity and importance of these creatures, and what’s being done to learn all about their biology. . . Embry has found a calling as an ambassador for all the “other” bees, and she is inspiring audiences to care about these insects while they are still here to be cared for.” —American Entomologist

    “Embry writes with passion, humor, and authority, and this book carries an important message—that we need to care for these little creatures that quietly pollinate our crops.” —Dave Goulson, author of A Sting in the Tale

    “An absolute must-read. Embry takes us along on her engaging journey of discovery as she learns about the incredible diversity of our native bees and how they live.” —Stephen Buchmann, author of The Forgotten Pollinators and The Reason for Flowers

    “Embry’s book is witty, insightful, and full of valuable information for both the long-time lover of bees and those just-now curious. She captures the essence of a bee’s natural history and how we use (and sometimes abuse) bees.” —Olivia Messinger Carril, author of The Bees in Your Backyard: A Guide to North America’s Bees

    “Embry’s writing is fresh and funny, and her enthusiasm for her subject contagious.” —The Maine Organic Farm Gardener

    “A very compelling book.” —Appalachian Voices

    “Embry possesses a voracious curiosity, a genuine interest in people and nature, and an ability to digest science and the people who practice it into illuminating and humorous stories. . . . Our Native Bees is essential reading.” —Story Circle Book Reviews

    “Embry’s writing style is superbly suited to her task. Her friendly, humor-filled prose. . . makes the book particularly inviting to newcomers to the subject.” —The Well-Read Naturalist

    “A charming narrator. . . . Our Native Bees is a keeper for people interested in our food supply—gardeners in particular—as it relates to bees. The book is also essential for those of us who enjoy good writing with a bent toward natural history and science, who are simply keen to know more about the world around us.” —The Missoulian

    “The narrative comes alive with photographs that beautifully render her subjects, tiny or robust, hirsute or sleek, jewel-like or armored.” —Quarterly Review of Biology

    “Friendly, humor-filled prose… clear and down-to-earth explanations of the ecological role these different species play, as well as a collection truly remarkable macro images that vividly depict just how diverse and beautiful they are.” —TheWell Read Naturalist

    “This book is as fun to read as it is a collection of stories. It is the story of bees told through the people who depend on them.”  —The Albany Herald

    “In an entertaining account of her personal bee adventures (far more fascinating than I had anticipated), Embry’s book sets the record straight about the immense value and the precarious future of our native bees… I enjoyed every page of our native bees.” —Seeds

    “Fascinating…punctuated by beautiful, up-close photos of bees, and the author’s passion and friendly tone.” —Newsday

On Sale
Feb 7, 2018
Page Count
224 pages
Timber Press

Paige Embry

Paige Embry

About the Author

Paige Embry has a BS in geology from Duke University and an MS in geology from the University of Montana. She has worked as an environmental consultant, taught horticulture and geology classes, and run a garden design and coaching business. She has written articles for Horticulture, The American Gardener, and other magazines. Visit her at paigeembry.com.

Learn more about this author