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Biology and Ecosystems

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

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Does the loss of plant diversity affect the health of native bees?

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 pollinated by native bees are critical for healthy...

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Does the loss of plant diversity affect the health of native bees?

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 pollinated by native bees are critical for healthy...

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Do bees feed on both nectar and pollen?

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 Program Pollinators

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Do bees feed on both nectar and pollen?

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 Program Pollinators

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How many species of native bees are in the United States?

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 that we don't know about native bees—many are smaller...

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How many species of native bees are in the United States?

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 that we don't know about native bees—many are smaller...

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Do native bees occur on every continent on the planet?

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 supporting billions of equally tiny bees.Learn more...

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Do native bees occur on every continent on the planet?

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 supporting billions of equally tiny bees.Learn more...

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Are honey bees native to North America?

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 billion dollars.Critical honey bee populations in...

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Are honey bees native to North America?

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 billion dollars.Critical honey bee populations in...

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What is the role of native bees in the United States?

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 species in the United States, 10% have not been named...

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What is the role of native bees in the United States?

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 species in the United States, 10% have not been named...

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Why are pollinating bats, birds, bees, butterflies, and other animals important?

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 animals are hard at work, providing vital but often...

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Why are pollinating bats, birds, bees, butterflies, and other animals important?

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 animals are hard at work, providing vital but often...

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I recovered a bird band with illegible numbers. How can I get the band etched so I can read and report the numbers?

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 a Mallard might wear off one number in 6 to 8...

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I recovered a bird band with illegible numbers. How can I get the band etched so I can read and report the numbers?

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 a Mallard might wear off one number in 6 to 8...

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How can I get bird banding and encounter data from the Bird Banding Laboratory?

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.

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How can I get bird banding and encounter data from the Bird Banding Laboratory?

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.

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What functions are available in the Bander Portal for bird 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 tables of valid codes for various banding data fields (e.g...

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What functions are available in the Bander Portal for bird 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 tables of valid codes for various banding data fields (e.g...

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How do I submit bird banding and/or bird recapture data?

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.

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How do I submit bird banding and/or bird recapture data?

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.

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I have a federal permit to band birds. How do I order bands?

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.

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I have a federal permit to band birds. How do I order bands?

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.

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