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Bees are an important part of natural ecosystems and thriving agricultural systems in southwest Idaho and other areas of the United States. Both introduced and native bees can provide ecosystem services by pollinating native plants and agricultural crops such as fruit trees. 

Since the many families and genera of bees are difficult for the untrained eye to identify, USGS has created a beginner’s guide. After an introductory discussion on the importance of bees, conservation threats, and characters that distinguish them from wasps and mimic flies, the reader is introduced through multiple photos and illustrations to bee anatomy and sex differences that will assist in identification. The guide profiles six families of bees including photos and identification criteria for 30 genera. This guide will be helpful to students, biologists, managers, and citizens interested in bee diversity in southern Idaho rangelands.


Sun, E.R., Pilliod, D.S., 2018, Bees of Southwest Idaho: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1448, p. 84,

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