photo Jason Gibbs/Cornell University

The bees of the world may be in danger of disappearing, but New York City now has its very own. Officially named “Lasioglossum gotham,” a new bee species has been discovered in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden! The Brooklyn bee, which has been buzzing beneath our noses for who knows how long, is just one of four new species discovered in the New York region — a very good sign considering the rampant honeybee decline.

Bees, Brooklyn Botanical Garden, Lasioglossum gotham, John Ascher, new bees, New York BeeStock photo, not L. gotham

Lasioglossum gotham, adorably named for Gotham City, but without a nickname yet (Brooklyn Bee does have a nice ring to it) was found in 2009 by the American Museum of Natural History’s John Ascher. The bee went somewhat unnoticed for years, being confused with other species, especially because of its tiny size- comparable to a grain of rice. The tiny insects live in nests in the ground, like other species. But with new DNA bar coding and digital identification techniques, Ascher was able to research the bee and found it to be unnamed.

The other “new” bees were found nearby in Westchester, Suffolk, and Nassau Counties. Lasioglossum gotham is the first New York City bee to be discovered since 1903, its predecessor, Lasioglossum katherinae, can still be found in the area. Despite being a large metropolis, New York’s lush parks, nature reserves and Jamaica Bay are home to 200 species of city bees.

The discovery of the four new bees is important and promising  news, considering the recent decline in honey bees. Each week, Dr. Ascher continues to roam Prospect Park, collecting bees and looking for new species.