The United States Geological Survey or USGS is an agency of the United States government that does scientific study and research. The scientists working at the USGS study the natural resources of the United States, its landscape, as well as the natural threats to it.
Among the many subjects that they tackle in their scientific study and research are bees. This is part of their mission to “… assemble and share knowledge in order to improve education, health, agriculture, economic development, and conservation throughout the world.”
The USGS has one of the most extensive databases for bees and other insects in North America. Bees are insects directly related to wasps and ants, and are recognized for their responsibility in pollination and for making honey and beeswax. There are almost 20,000 known species of bees in seven to nine recognized families, though a lot are undescribed and the actual number is almost certainly higher. They are on every continent excluding Antarctica, found in every environment in the world that has insect-pollinated flowering plants.
As their website points out, the USGS is committed to “… provide free on-line tools to identify species, teach and study nature’s wonders, report findings, build maps, process images, and contribute to and learn from a growing, interactive encyclopedia of life with 1,274,305 species pages and 626,489 maps.”
The USGS has four major science disciplines which are: geology, hydrology biology and geography. The organization is a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Interior, and it is that department’s only scientific agency. The USGS has approximately 8,670 workers and is headquartered in Reston, Virginia. It also has main offices at the Denver Federal Center, near Lakewood, Colorado and Menlo Park, California. The dictum ascribed to by the USGS is “Science for a changing world.”
To share their ongoing studies, the USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab shared dozens upon dozens of fantastic high resolution macro photos of bees as well other insects on Flicker. This is to demonstrate the lab’s mission to study and document America’s extensive native bee species, moths, goldenrods, ants and ladybugs.
Feast your eyes on insects galore over here.