Forget the Ordinary Honeybee; Look at the Beautiful Bees They’re Crowding Out – Facts So Romantic

All of the images in this post are borrowed from the amazing Flickr feed of the USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab.

Eucera dubitata, a bee that evolved its very long tongue to get at flowers with deep corollasSam Droege, USGS; collected by Sabrie Breland

Any day now, the apple trees on my deck will bloom, bringing with them the first honeybees of spring. It’s a moment I’ll greet with mixed feelings. To which bee-lovers everywhere may respond: How can anyone feel anything but good about honeybees? They’re little gold-and-black life-bringers, booty-waggling symbols of industrious virtue, and now—after a decade of declines in commercial honeybee colonies—subjects of sympathy and concern. We all want to help the bees.

All of which is true, and honeybees are certainly not unwelcome guests. And yet: Most of them will be domesticated, belonging to colonies maintained by New York City’s urban beekeepers. They’re also competing for the same blossoms with wild bees. Indeed, urban honeybees have the potential to push out their wild brethren. “If you have lots of honeybees,” says Dave Goulson, an insect ecologist at the University of Sussex, “it is bad for wild…

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