What is a native bee?

Aren’t all bees native?

Hi Anita! I see you have some questions about bees, they are very welcome - I enjoy sharing about these amazing creatures and I love it when someone wants to hear it :grinning:

To answer your question, all bees are native to somewhere of course! But here in the US and in a few other parts of the world, the bees that we keep are native to Europe. Most other continents have populations of different types of bees that may or may not work as a colony and store large amounts of honey like Apis Mellifera - or European honey bees do.

By the way, I recategorized this and a few of your posts into General Bee Chat, which will help get you more notice and lots more info :+1:

1 Like

Good question, Anita. If you think about it, the answer is yes.
All bees are native to somewhere. Of the 20,000 known species of bees in the world, around 4,000 are native to North America.
There’s around 1,600 native to Australia where I live. The bees that I keep are the progeny of Apis mellifera ligustica native honey bee of Italy introduced around 200 years ago along with other European honey bees. A wider variety were introduced to North America over around 300 years including the unwelcome Apis mellifera scutellata from Africa. Of course, there’s been hundreds of years of cross breeding, so when we talk about Italians or Carniolans (native to Slovenia) there’s also genes from any number of other subspecies not native to North America or Australia in various ratios. It’s the dominance of the Italian or Carniolan traits to which we refer.
Although the range of honey bees we keep are not native to North America or Australia, they’ve been vital to the development of those and many other lands.