Photo credit: Flock/bandada by Flickr.com user Rafael Edwards

#ForewordFriday: Bee My Pollinator Edition

A European honeybee. Photo by Rachel James, used under Creative Commons licensing. A European honeybee pollinating pink milkweed. Photo by Rachel James, used under Creative Commons licensing.

Yesterday brought good news for bees as U.S. retailers promised to require better labeling of plants treated with neonicotinoids, a class of pesticides that scientists have found to contribute to bee declines, and to look to phase out the chemicals entirely. Bees, of course, are critical to the health of natural ecosystems and agricultural spaces alike because of their role as pollinators. But it's easy to forget that we owe our flowery world to more than just the little yellow-and-black striped honeybees that come to mind so quickly. There are four or five thousand species of native bees in the continental U.S. alone. In this excerpt from The Forgotten Pollinators, Stephen L. Buchmann and Gary Paul Nabhan offer a tour of the wondrous diversity of creatures that keep our planet blooming--even a reptile gets in the game.