Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Field Guide to the Common Bees of California

Field Guide to the Common Bees of California: Including Bees of the Western United States

Text by Gretchen LeBuhn
Illustrations by Noel B. Pugh
Copyright Date: 2013
Edition: 1
Pages: 192
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Field Guide to the Common Bees of California
    Book Description:

    This engaging and easy-to-use natural history guidebook provides a thorough overview of native and honey bee biology and offers tools for identifying the most common bees of California and the Western United States. Full-color illustrations introduce readers to more than 30 genera of native bees, noting each one's needs and habits and placing them in their wider context. The author highlights bees' ties to our own lives, the food we eat, and the habitat we provide, and suggests ways to support bees in our own backyards. In addition to helping readers understand and distinguish among major groups of bees, this guide reveals how bees are an essential part of healthy ecosystem and how many plants, including important crop plants, depend on the pollination they provide. As growing evidence points to declining bee populations, this book offers critical information about the bond between plants and pollinators, and between humans and nature. Thoroughly researched and full of new insights into the ancient process of pollination, Field Guide to the Common Bees of California; Including Bees of the Western United States is invaluable for the window it opens onto the biodiversity, adaptive range, and complexity of invertebrate communities.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-95688-9
    Subjects: Botany & Plant Sciences

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xii)
    (pp. 1-56)

    Anyone who has spent a lovely warm morning in a garden in spring has shared company with a bee. From a farm in the Central Valley to a community garden in the center of Los Angeles, bees are busy buzzing around, visiting flowers, gathering resources for their offspring, and in the process, transferring pollen from flower to flower.

    Bees are flying insects that first emerged about 100 million years ago, during the Cretaceous period, as part of the radiation of insects. The earliest record of bees is from fossilized amber in Myanmar (formerly Burma).

    Bees are part of a larger...


    • [Introduction]
      (pp. 57-59)

      I’ve provided two tools to help you identify different genera of bees. Below there is a key of characteristics that can help you sort among genera. In addition, Appendix 2 includes a detailed list of key characteristics. Many of the characteristics require a microscope or a strong hand lens to be seen.

      Here are some quick ways to get at some of the most common genera using some simple characteristics:

      Two submarginal cells in the fore wing

      see Family Megachilidae, and Genera Hylaeus,

      Dufourea, Panurginus, or Perdita

      Obvious pollen on the undersurface of the abdomen

      see Family Megachilidae

      Very large...

    • PLASTERER or POLYESTER BEES (Family Colletidae)
      (pp. 60-65)

      Family Colletidae is a large, mostly Australian family with a worldwide distribution (excluding the Arctic and Antarctic). This was once considered the most primitive family of bees, but recent molecular work suggests that the family Melittidae may be more primitive. Understanding the behavior of these primitive groups is important in understanding how bees coevolved with plants. For example, if the Colletidae are the most primitive, it suggests that early bees were generalist foragers, whereas if Melittidae are the earliest ancestors, early bees were plant specialists, that is, they fed on only specific plants, and later groups of bees evolved to...

    • SWEAT BEES (Family Halictidae)
      (pp. 66-81)

      Family Halictidae is found worldwide. Most members of the family are of small to medium size 0.1–0.6 in. (4–14 mm) and are generally dark colored, though a few are bright green and some are red. Several species have yellow markings, particularly in the males, who often have yellow facial markings. Members of the family Halictidae are morphologically very similar. They have even been called boring because they look so much alike. Even so, they have an amazing diversity of social behaviors, with some species having queen and worker castes (though not as complex as those in the Western...

    • MINING BEES (Family Andrenidae)
      (pp. 82-89)

      Family Andrenidae is one of the five major bee families with over 2,500 described species. They are widely distributed but absent from Australia, southeastern Asia, and most rain forests. They are medium-size to large bees and are generally dark in color, though some come in blue, yellow, and red. This group does have a unique diagnostic characteristic: the presence of two subantennal sutures (that look like dark lines) under the sockets of the antennae. Next to the antennal sutures are facial foveae. In the Andrenidae, these foveae are covered in hairs and look like patches of velvet when viewed under...

    • LEAF-CUTTER BEES or MASON BEES (Family Megachilidae)
      (pp. 90-111)

      This is a large family that includes both mason bees and leaf-cutter bees. While most bees carry pollen on their legs, a distinguishing characteristic of this family is that the nonparasitic female carries pollen on the underside of the abdomen. This can best be observed while the bee is in flight. With a hand lens or microscope, you can recognize a bee as a member of this family because each has a labrum (the upper lip of the mouthparts) that is rectangular and wider than it is long. It also has two (not three) submarginal cells in the fore wing,...

      (pp. 112-152)

      This is the largest of the bee families. It includes many favorite and most well-known bees: honey bees, bumble bees, squash bees, and even some cuckoo bees. This group has a wide variety of species. Most are solitary with simple nests. However, this family includes the most advanced eusocial bees and many of our important agricultural pollinators. Almost 20 percent of the family Apidae are thought to be cleptoparasites, laying their eggs in the nest cells of other bees. There are approximately 84 genera of the family Apidae in North America.

      Common California species: Apis mellifera GENUS SUMMARY: There are...

    (pp. 153-154)
    (pp. 155-160)
    (pp. 161-164)
    (pp. 165-166)
  10. INDEX
    (pp. 167-174)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 175-177)