The Rare Norm a couple of weeks ago Share Tweet Pin Share Hi — depending on the desert this individual lives in, arid regions of North America (for instance) are actually some of the most biodiverse regions for bees. You may not see a lot in terms of numbers of individuals, but if you were to look closely or start a collection, you would definitely see a high diversity in the number of species. There are over 20,000 species of bee in the world, and over 4,000 in North America. One of the reasons for North America’s large bee diversity is because of the many arid regions. In these arid regions, rainfall is often sporadic and locally contained. This results in plants species that are specialized to bloom under really unique conditions. As a result, you get a lot of bees that become specialized on those plants. Over evolutionary time scales, you end up with lots of different species. However, since there’s not that many flowers and they flower somewhat irregularly, you don’t see that many total individuals. Lots of other cool things happen like adaptations to long drought via the ability to hibernate for multiple years, foraging during low-light or zero light conditions, and of course…lots of moth pollination in the desert, too. But yeah — sticking out a sugar feeder to feed honey bees which are non-native to the region (I’m assuming North America) probably explains why they’re resource starved (massive colonies that could exhaust the flowers within a reasonable distance of a nest in the desert in a single day). They likely survive off of garden plants rather than native desert wildflowers.