Conference Topic – A Bee For Every Season

Native bees are abundant in New Mexico; among species found here are the largest and smallest species found in North America, green and red bees, striped bees, spotted bees, bees restricted to mountains and to the Chihuahua desert, and bees that fly only in the spring, the summer, or the fall. No matter the season, New Mexico’s bees are essential to ecosystem health, and are responsible for the majority of the seed set that happens in our flowering plants. In this presentation, Dr. Olivia Carril will give an overview of New Mexico’s bees, emphasizing which are most commonly seen at each time of year, and how you might recognize them. She will also highlight the roles these bees play in renewing floral resources through their efforts as pollinators, including the generalists who don’t seem to give a buzz when it comes to visiting flowers, the loyalists, who are discriminating on each trip, but not so discerning over the long term, and the specialists, who refuse all but their favorite pollens. Finally, she will discuss the possible implications of climate change on bee-plant relationships across the flowering season.


Olivia Carril has been studying native bees and the plants they visit for over 20 years. She completed a Master’s Degree in 2006 at Utah State University, establishing a long term ecological study of the environmental factors influencing bee diversity in Grand Staircase-Esacalante National Monument. In 2013 she received her PhD from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, studying a specialist bee and its host flowers. Since then she has written a book, The Bees In Your Backyard: A Guide To North America’s Bees. Olivia loves telling people about bees, the ecosystem services they provide, and how we can help them prosper.