Two-spotted bumble bee
North America boasts more than 4,000 species of bees. A fact that keeps Sam Droege and his team plenty busy, as they run the USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab at Patuxent Research Refuge in Maryland. The lab provides an important function, allowing scientists to survey, process and collect bee data -- but what may surprise many is that they’re also responsible for hundreds of exceptional bee and other insect portraits. Through specialized photography, the lab helps illuminate the glorious colors, textures, shapes and sizes of our native bees.
The loveliness and diversity of bees will astound you, mirroring the diversity of the many flower species they pollinate. Here are just a few bees collected on national parks, national wildlife refuges and other public lands across the country.