When it comes to bees, honey bees get all of the attention. Humans have been raising honey bees for thousands of years, and many people wrongly assume that honey bees are the only types of bees that pollinate flowers and much of the world’s crops. However, scientists have documented more than 20,000 bee species, and only a few of these species produce honey, and some do not even possess stingers. North America alone is home to 4,000 bee species and most of these species dwell within relatively dry climates. Since bee populations are decreasing dramatically, researchers are frantically trying to locate as many bee hotspots as possible in order to preserve their most valued natural habitats. Amazingly, one researcher discovered 650 different bee species inhabiting one small area of a national park in Utah.
Experts have documented around 1,000 bee species that dwell within the state of Utah, but finding all of these species inhabiting one single location is impossible. Despite this, an independent bee researcher, Olivia Carril, recently discovered 650 of these 1,000 bee species inhabiting the well known Grand-Staircase Escalante National Monument in southern Utah. Carril found 660 native bees within the borders of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, which accounts for around 60 percent of Utah’s native bee population. A few years ago, a similar study determined that 770 bee species were discovered east of the Mississippi River. To put this in perspective, the total amount of bee species existing in one half of the United States is just 100 more than the amount of bee species found within one National Park monument in Utah.
Due to Carril’s research, there is now an interest in preserving this region’s ecosystem, as it provides a safe zone for more than half of America’s bee species during the winter season. This region of Utah is a preferred dwelling ground for bees due to the area’s diversity of plant life and long growing season.
Have you ever encountered an active bee nest within a desert landscape?