Native Bees of Virginia

Across North America, there are approximately 4,000 species of native bees. Virginia is home to over 400 documented species, each playing a crucial role in pollination and the overall health of local ecosystems.

Some Examples:

Eastern Bumblebee (Bombus impatiens):
One of the most common bumblebee species in eastern North America, known for its distinctive black and yellow coloration.

Mason Bees (Genus Osmia):
Solitary bees known for their use of mud or clay to construct their nests. They are excellent pollinators of fruit trees and other crops.

Leafcutter Bees (Genus Megachile): Solitary bees known for their habit of cutting circular pieces of leaves to construct their nests (it seems they really like redbuds!).

Eastern Carpenter Bee
(Xylocopa virginica)
A large, solitary bee species often found in wooded areas and urban environments, known for nesting in wood.

Long-horned Bees (Genus Melissodes):
A group of solitary bees known for their long antennae and distinctive markings. They are often found in open habitats with abundant flowering plants.

Sweat Bees (Genus Halictus):
A diverse group of small to medium-sized bees known for their attraction to human sweat. They are commonly found in a variety of habitats, including gardens and fields.

Potential Impacts on Native Bee Populations

Reduced Pollination Efficiency: Phenological mismatches reduce the efficiency of pollination, leading to lower fruit set and potentially smaller and fewer berries. This can impact food availability for other species that feed on blueberries and other fruits with pollination specialist partnerships.

Population Declines: If Southeastern Blueberry Bees consistently emerge at times when blueberries are not blooming, their populations could decline due to insufficient food and reproductive success.

Ecosystem Effects: Declines in bee populations can have broader ecological impacts. Native bees are vital pollinators for many plants, so their decline could affect plant reproduction and biodiversity.