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Bees: An Identification and Native Plant Forage Guide

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Winner of Six Book Awards
2018 American Horticultural Society (AHS) Book Award
2018 Midwest Independent Publishing Association (MIPA) Finalist: Nature
2017 Independent Publisher (IPPY) Silver Book Award: Environment, Ecology, and Nature
2017 Next Generation Indie Book Award (NGIBA) Winner: Regional Non-Fiction
2017 Next Generation Indie Book Award (NGIBA) Finalist: Science, Nature, Environment
2017 National Indie Excellence Award (NIEA) Winner: Nature

A comprehensive guide illustrating the bees that occur in north-central and eastern United States and southern Canada
​In-depth profiles of 27 bee genera covering the life cycles, habitats, diet, foraging behaviors, crops pollinated, plant specializations, nesting lifestyles, seasonality, and preferred native forage plants
12 additional summary profiles for uncommon genera

Comprehensive profiles of approximately 100 native trees, shrubs, and perennials for the Midwest, Great Lakes, and Northeast regions including insect and bird visitation information and bee specializations
​Over 1500 stunning photographs, detailed descriptions, and accessible science​

This well-illustrated guide captures the beauty, diversity, and engaging world of bees that occur in north-central and eastern United States and southern Canada, and the native plants that support them. Superbly designed and organized, this is an indispensable source of information with extensive profiles for twenty-seven bee genera, plus twelve summary profiles for uncommon genera, and approximately one hundred native trees, shrubs, and perennials for the Midwest, Great Lakes, and Northeast regions. With over 1500 stunning photographs, detailed descriptions, and accessible science, environmental educator and research assistant Heather Holm brings to light captivating information about bees' life cycles, habitats, diet, foraging behaviors, crops pollinated, nesting lifestyles, seasonality, and preferred native forage plants.

Bees are a singularly fascinating group of insects and this book makes it possible to observe, attract, and support them in their natural setting or in one's own garden. Not only does this guide assist the reader with bee identification in the field or by photo, it also notes microscopic features for the advanced user. The factors impacting bee populations, and the management of farms and public and residential landscapes for bees are also covered. Included in the bee forage (plant) chapters are plant profiles with range maps, habitat information, floral features and attractants, common bees attracted to the particular plant, and details about the ecological connections between the native plant and other flower-visiting insects. Noted also are birds dependent upon the product of the pollinated flowers (fruits and seeds).

This is an excellent reference for amateur and professional naturalists, educators, gardeners, farmers, students, nature photographers, insect enthusiasts, biologists, and anyone interested in learning more about the diversity and biology of bees and their connection to native plants and the natural world.

224 pages, Paperback

Published February 5, 2017

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About the author

Heather N. Holm

4 books40 followers
Heather Holm is a biologist, pollinator conservationist, and award-winning author. She passionately informs and educates audiences nationwide, through her writing and many presentations, about the fascinating world of native pollinators and beneficial insects, and the native plant communities that support them.

Heather is the author of four books: Pollinators of Native Plants (2014), Bees (2017), Wasps (2021), and Common Native Bees of the Eastern United States (2022). Both Bees and Wasps have won multiple book awards including the American Horticultural Society Book Award (2018 and 2022 respectively).

Her expertise includes the interactions between native pollinators and native plants, and the natural history and biology of native bees and predatory wasps. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, Minneapolis Star Tribune, and many local publications. Heather is also an accomplished photographer and her pollinator photos are frequently featured in print and electronic publications.

Heather is a National Honorary Director of Wild Ones. She also serves on the boards of the following non-profits: Friends of Cullen Nature Preserve and Bird Sanctuary, Friends of Minnetonka Parks, and her local Wild Ones chapter, Prairie Edge. In her spare time, she is an active community supporter, writing grants, and coordinating and participating in volunteer ecological landscape restoration projects. The latest project is a 13-acre oak savanna restoration that will provide thriving habitat for pollinators, birds, mammals, and passive, nature-based opportunities for people.

Author Website





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Displaying 1 - 6 of 6 reviews
Profile Image for Debbie.
801 reviews
December 8, 2017
Fantastic resource book filled with outstanding photos. Tons of info about bees and the best plants for them to survive.
84 reviews2 followers
March 18, 2019
An exceptionally useful book for anyone interested in improving their habitat vis-a-vis bees. Excellent and concise descriptions of the various plants and a nice review of bee biology in the opening chapters.
184 reviews43 followers
February 13, 2018
Fasanating book about bees 🐝 and flowers. I know bees
are indangered but this book tells why. Very interesting
I recommend this book to all of you. I bought three
as gifts. I received as a ARC.
Profile Image for Rachael.
Author 4 books10 followers
April 24, 2023
This is a really nice book for learning about native (and a couple local non-native) bees. Really, though, it's less a bee identification book and more a bee/pollinator plant relationship book (which does aid in identification). The first half covers genera of bees (physical descriptions, nesting habits, common plants they frequent, etc.), and the second half covers a number of native plants that bees frequent (description, native range, what bees frequent them, etc.). So you can look up by bee or plant, which is convenient.

I initially checked it out to identify some bees I photographed nesting in my lawn last summer, and though I still wasn't able to determine exactly what they were, I narrowed it down to two genera. I was quickly distracted from the identifying process by the fascinating pollinator relationships aspect, and I took copious notes about the native flowers I have in my garden and what bees to expect on them. So it wasn't precisely what I was expecting, but it was better in a lot of ways.
50 reviews
February 12, 2018
This was a Goodreads Giveaway. I thought the book was both interesting and informative. My only wish is that there was more focus on the west coast. This is of course not a fault of the book but I would love to read a west coast book too! My kids also looked through it and found it interesting...my daughter has since developed a fascination with bees. My only major complaint about the book however is that the binding is horrible. As soon as I opened the book, the binding started to come apart and pages started to fall out.
Profile Image for Alice.
370 reviews
June 24, 2020
This is a great book about native plants and bees. It is not a bee identification book. Excellent information on what to plant to attract bees, especially native bees :)
Displaying 1 - 6 of 6 reviews

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