Frequently Asked Questions

Biology and Ecosystems

USGS science is used by other agencies to help conserve species, lands, resources, and priority ecosystems.

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Great Sand Dunes National Park
Loss of plant diversity is the primary cause of native bee decline. About 30-50% of all native bees are highly specialized, so if the plant they rely on disappears, the bees go away. If the bees disappear, the plant is unable to reproduce and dies out.  While some of the plants pollinated by native bees are important food crops, other plants...
A bee with pollen on it
Bees feed on and require both nectar and pollen. The nectar is for energy and the pollen provides protein and other nutrients. Most pollen is used by bees as larvae food, but bees also transfer it from plant-to-plant, providing the pollination services needed by plants and nature as a whole.   Learn more: USGS Native Bee Inventory and Monitoring...
The top view of a male Anthophora occidentalis bee
There are over 20,000 known bee species in the world, and 4,000 of them are native to the United States. They range from the tiny (2 mm) and solitary Perdita minima, known as the world’s smallest bee, to kumquat-sized species of carpenter bees. Our bees come in as many sizes, shapes, and colors as the flowers they pollinate. There is still much...
close up of image
Native bees occur on every continent except Antarctica. Wherever there are insect-pollinated flowering plants—be it in forest, farms, cities, and wildlands—there are bees. And just because you don’t see obvious blooming plants, that does not mean that there are no bees around. Look down! Those tiny flowers that you see on some plants are also...
Honey bee (Apis mellifera)
Honey bees are not native to North America. They were originally imported from Europe in the 17th century. Honey bees now help pollinate many U.S. crops like fruits and nuts. In a single year, one honey bee colony can gather about 40 pounds of pollen and 265 pounds of nectar. Honey bees increase our nation's crop values each year by more than 15...
Image: Native Bee Pollinates Native Flower
About 75% of North American plant species require an insect—mostly bees—to move their pollen from one plant to another to effect pollination. Unlike the well-known behavior of the non-native honeybees, there is much that we don’t know about native bees. Many native bees are smaller in size than a grain of rice. Of approximately 4,000 native bee...
Pollinators
Do you enjoy a hot cup of coffee, a juicy peach, an-apple-a-day, almonds, rich and creamy dates, a handful of plump cashews, or vine-ripened tomatoes? Do you enjoy seeing the native flowers and plants that surround you? If so, you depend on pollinators. Wherever flowering plants flourish, pollinating bees, birds, butterflies, bats and other...
Bird Bands
Most bird bands are made of an aluminum alloy and have unique numbers engraved. These numbers can wear off with time to the point that one or more numbers become illegible. The time that it takes for a bird band number to wear off depends on the habits of that bird species and the amount of time that it spends in the water. For instance, a band on...
Location and abundance of ducks captured and banded in Suisun Marsh
Banding and encounter data are available for research purposes. Individual banding data records exist electronically starting in 1960. Pre-1960 banding data are available only for birds that have been encountered. Individual encounter data are available from 1913. To make a data request go to the Banding and Encounter Data page.
Resources for Banders
Use the Bander Portal to: View and update your contact information, List subpermittees, band inventory, and locations associated with your permit, Order bands and confirm bands as received, Request transferral of bands TO your permit or FROM your permit to another permit, Define which menu options subpermitees have permission to access, View...
Photo of Bird Bands in a Variety of Sizes and Types
If you already have a federal permit or sub permit to band birds, sign in to the Bander Portal to order bands and/or confirm bands as received.
Bandit Opening Screen
Bird banding and band recapture data from banding activities must be submitted to the Bird Banding Laboratory using Bandit, The Information Manager for Banding Operations. Bandit is desktop software (not a website) that must be downloaded to your computer. The software is available for both PCs and Macs.