Most of us grew up knowing the names of exotic animals: lions, tigers, panthers, pumas, zebras, sloths . . . animals we are unlikely to encounter in our day to day lives. Yet bees, how many different kinds of bees can we name or identify? Do you know there are more than 4,000 varieties of bees native to North America, and an estimated 200 different bee species right here in New England? They are everywhere and our pollinator garden project is making me realize how much I don’t know! Some live in colonies, some live solitary lives. Some specialize, such as squash bees which only pollinate squash and pumpkins; others are generalists. Some bees are aggressive, others are not. Only females sting; some, with barbed stingers, die when they sting; those with non-barbed stingers may be able to sting multiple times. Will I ever be able to identify a mason bee? A plasterer bee? A carpenter bee or cuckoo bee? I’m working on it! Check out http://www.nativebeesofnewengland.com/bee-diversity.html and add to the varieties you can identify!