GainesDay arboretum-bee-talk-4-7-14


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  • The information contained in this presentation was prepared by the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. Formed in 1971, the Society is at the forefront of pollinator conservation, harnessing the knowledge of scientists and public enthusiasm to educate, advocate, and implement conservation efforts across the country.
    The Xerces Society is named after the now extinct Xerces Blue butterfly, the first butterfly to go extinct in North America due to human activities.
  • Before I get into the details of my research, I wanted to briefly talk about bees in general. First of all, what makes a bee a bee?
  • Beginning in the upper left hand corner is our non-native European honey bees, but our native bees come in a wide range of colors and sizes, here are some contrasting examples…
  • …to over an inch in length like the carpenter bee here on the right.
  • Adult for only 4 weeks
  • Unlike honey bees which exist in perennial colonies, bumble bees form annual colonies formed in the spring by a solitary queen. This comparison is similar to that of a perennial plant vs. an annual one. In the life cycle diagram above, the yellow bee is the queen. After raising her initial brood, they take over the foraging and nest construction duties, and the queen stays inside the nest laying eggs. Late in the season the colony will raise new queens which leave the nest and hibernate in leaf litter of loose soil alone over the winter. The old queen and the old colony dies in the fall.
  • Finally, many additional materials are available from the Xerces Society. Among these are fact sheets on the role of native pollinators, artificial nest construction and management guidelines, farm management booklets, and links to various regional resources. Most Xerces Society publications are available as free downloads on our website.
  • The life cycle of these solitary tunnel-nesting bees is similar to that of solitary ground-nesting bees, however the brood cells are typically constructed in a linear arrangement separated by a series of mud or leaf partitions. Many people have heard of mason bees and leafcutter bees, both are examples of tunnel-nesting solitary bees.
  • NJ example
  • CA example
  • Price for honey bee rentals for crop pollination likely to rise: already reported higher for blueberries in New England and at least one big supplier in PA doesn’t have enough bees to fulfill apple contracts in NY.
  • Fewer honey bees available
    Over 50% decline in number of managed hives since 1950
    70-100% decline in feral colonies since the 1990s
    Causes: Disease, pests, honey prices, and Colony Collapse Disorder
  • In 2006-7, about 25% of beekeeping operations in the U.S. lost an average of 45% of hives.
    CCD losses in 2007-09 were similar.
    We still do not know exactly what is causing CCD. Right now, the following issues are still being explored for their potential role in CCD.
    Disease: We are familiar with Nosema apis (typically sickens hive during Fall/Winter), but new Nosema = N. ceranea (seems to hit in the summer and acts faster)
    Pests: Already causing significant declines, could be helping to spread disease or weaken colonies
    Insecticides: Still being investigated. In some countries, the neonicitinoids have been implicated, but no strong evidence of CCD link
    Stress: Comes up often, and might be a factor, but certainly not the cause (honey bees have been shipped around for thousands of years, since the time of the Pharaohs in Egypt)
    Cell phones: One of the primary reasons the general public knows about declining honey bees is because of the purported linkages between cell phone towers and bees abandoning their hives…totally Bogus!
    Bt: very unlikely.
    Poor diet and insecticides are two primary areas where the NRCS can help, either improving habitat or increasing use of IPM and/or conservation biological control.
  • This graph illustrates the average cost of honey bee hive rentals for several key California crops. Note that almonds (represented by the top bar) rose from an average of $45/hive in 1995, and by 2005, as we saw bee shortages beginning to increase, the average cost rose to $75/hive.
    And then, as colony collapse disorder hit the nation, this is what happened to the average hive costs that almond growers were paying…
  • Average hive rental prices rose to almost $200. So in just over a decade, the almond industry alone has experienced a nearly 4 fold increase in pollination costs. Keep in mind that there are over 600,000 acres of almonds in California, and the orchards are typically stocked at a rate of 2 hives per acre. At that stocking rate a little over half of all the honey bee hives in the U.S. are required for this one industry.
  • Our native bees, in many cases, are on a bee-for-bee basis significantly more efficient pollinators than honey bees.
  • From a crop security perspective it is essential that we begin thinking about ways to diversify the ecological service of pollination. Our best available alternative to honey bees are the wild native bees that have been in the background all along. Photo of squash blossom full of male squash bees (Peponapis sp).
  • Many of our native bees are also in decline. Of particular importance are members of the subgenus Bombus. This is a closely related group of “sister species” that range across the country. Once they accounted for some of the most common bees in their range, now they are nearly impossible to find, especially in agricultural areas.
  • As an example, the yellow banded bumble bee in a 1995 survey was the most common bee found in northern Wisconsin where it was a highly valued pollinator of cranberry. In a follow-up survey in 2005 it constituted less than 1% of all the bumble bees found in the state.
  • Cranberries are one crop that require insect pollination to produce fruit. The majority of Wisconsin cranberry growers rent 2-5 hives of honey bees per acre to meet these pollination requirements, costing them tens of thousands of dollars each year. In order for growers to manage their property to support more native bees, we first need to understand what habitats and resources native bees are responding to in the landscape.
  • GainesDay arboretum-bee-talk-4-7-14

    1. 1. The Buzz with Bees: Native and Managed Pollinators Hannah Gaines Day Department of Entomology University of Wisconsin, Madison
    2. 2. Protecting wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitat since 1971. Major Programs: • Endangered species • Aquatic invertebrates • Pollinator conservation Advocacy, Education, Restoration, and Applied Research
    3. 3. Outline • The importance of pollinators • Biology and natural history of bees • Resource requirements of native bees • Crop pollination by bees • Threats to native bees • Native bee research at UW • Native bee conservation strategies
    4. 4. Pollination • Transfer of pollen from anthers to stigma • Wind, gravity, or animal mediated © Bruce Newhouse
    5. 5. Pollinators • Birds, bats, bees, moths, butterflies
    6. 6. Pollinators • Birds, bats, bees, moths, butterflies • Bees are the MOST IMPORTANT pollinators – Actively collect pollen – Floral constancy – Branched hairs
    7. 7. • 85% of all flowering plants • 35% of global crop production R. Winfree How important are bees?
    8. 8. Poor fruit set resulting from poor pollination
    9. 9. One in every three bites you eat is dependent on insect pollination.
    10. 10. What is a bee? • Hymenoptera – Ants, bees, wasps •6 legs, 4 wings • Vegetarian – Provision nests with pollen • Great pollinators! – Pollen sticks to feather- like hairs
    11. 11. Bees versus wasps • Carnivorous • Simple hairs • More aggressive • Examples: yellow jackets, hornets, paper wasps
    12. 12. Bees versus flies • Feed on decaying matter, feces, and blood • Also feed on nectar • 2 wings, short stubby antennae • Prominent eyes • Examples: house flies, hover flies
    13. 13. Native bees versus honey bees • Single, non-native species • Perennial colony with queen • Wax hives • Produce honey
    14. 14. Honey bees are not native, but • Generalist pollinators • “Easy” to manage • Work well with modern agricultural system
    15. 15. How many bees are there? • ~20,000 species worldwide • ~4000 species native to North America • ~500 species native to Wisconsin
    16. 16. Photos: James Cane; Steve Javorek (Ag Canada); Edward S. Ross Honey bee (Apis mellifera) Bumble bee (Bombus edwardsii) Leafcutter bee (Megachile sp.) Polyester bee (Colletes sp)
    17. 17. Photos: Bruce Newhouse; Edward S. Ross; Mace Vaughan; USDA-ARS/Jack Dykinga Metallic sweat bee (Agapostemon sp.) Yellow-faced bee (Hylaeus sp.) Mason bee (Osmia sp.) Sweat bee (Halictus sp.)
    18. 18. Metallic sweat bee (Agapostemon sp.) Mason bee (Osmia sp.) Sunflower bee (Svastra sp.) Long-horned bee (Mellisodes sp.) Photo: Bob Hammond, CSU Coop Ext Photo: Bob Hammond, CSU Coop Ext Carpenter bee (Xylocopa sp.) Photo: Gene Barickman, IL NRCS
    19. 19. Photo: Stephen L. Buchmann
    20. 20. Social behavior of bees • Solitary (majority of species) • Social (only 10%) – Honey bees (NOT native) – Bumble bees
    21. 21. Solitary bee life cycle Spring Summer Fall Winter (Photos: Dennis Briggs)
    22. 22. Social bee life cycle (bumble bee) Spring Summer Fall Winter
    23. 23. Nesting behavior of bees Ground Stem S. Camarzine Cavity
    24. 24. Ground nesting (~70% of bees)
    25. 25. P.Westrich Ground nesting (~70% of bees) K. Ullmann
    26. 26. © Edward Ross Stem nesting (~30% of bees) Leaf-cutter bees (Megachile sp.)
    27. 27. Stem nesting bees • Leaf-cutter bees (Megachile addenda)
    28. 28. Mud cap closure Larva Pupa Adult Pollen mass Egg Mud wall Cross-section of silk cocoons Stem nesting bees
    29. 29. Stem nesting bees T. Stoehr • Mason bees (Osmia sp.)
    30. 30. S. Camarzine Cavity nesting (bumble bees) K. Ullmann
    31. 31. Cavity nesting (bumble bees) • 45 species in North America • Annual colony with 100-300 workers • Specialist pollinators of red clover, blueberry, cranberry, eggplant, tomato Photos:Eric Mader, Elaine Evans
    32. 32. Resource requirements • Flower availability – Early spring through fall • Nesting resources – Undisturbed soil, woody habitat, or nest boxes
    33. 33. Landscapes • Some landscapes already provide adequate resources. A. Bennett
    34. 34. Landscapes • Some do not. A. Bennett
    35. 35. Why is the landscape important? • Central place foragers • Flight distance proportional to size of bee
    36. 36. Crop pollination by bees • One in every three bites…
    37. 37. Crop pollination by bees Photo: USDA-ARS/Scott Bauer
    38. 38. US Agriculture
    39. 39. Honey bee decline • Mites, disease, Colony Collapse Disorder Photo: USDA-ARS/Scott Bauer Varroa mite
    40. 40. Causes of Colony Collapse Disorder • Disease/pathogen? • Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus? • New strain of Nosema? • Pests? • Poor diet? • Insecticide exposure? • Stress? • Not cell phones or Bt Corn
    41. 41. Honey bee rental rates (CA) 1995-2005
    42. 42. Honey bee rental rates (CA) 1995-2005, plus almonds, 2006-2008 2006 2007 2008
    43. 43. How does the honey bee decline effect Wisconsin farmers? • Hive fees increase • Hive quality decreases
    44. 44. Native bees and crop pollination • Active earlier in season and day • Collect both pollen and nectar • Buzz pollination • No rental fees • Keep honey bees moving • Not susceptible to honey bee diseases
    45. 45. Significance to agriculture - Native bees provide insurance against honey bee decline - Efficient crop pollinators R. Winfree
    46. 46. Photo: Bob Hammond, CSU Coop Ext
    47. 47. Native bees and crop pollination • More efficient than honey bees • Active earlier and in cooler weather • Not effected by honey bee diseases • Free!
    48. 48. Native bees also in decline © Derrick Ditchburn © Johanna James-Heinz © Jodi DeLong © Peter Schroeder Yellow-banded Franklin’s Rusty-patch Western
    49. 49. Images: The Xerces Society Native bees also in decline - Yellow Banded Bumble Bee (Bombus terricolla) once very common, now gone
    50. 50. What threats do they face? - Disease and pathogen from commercially reared bumble bees - Agricultural intensification - Pesticide exposure - Loss of habitat
    51. 51. Bees and Wisconsin agriculture
    52. 52. Bee researchers at the UW Brian Spiesman Rachel Mallinger David Lowenstein Hannah Gaines Day
    53. 53. Native bees in cranberry – 182 species of bees – More woodland = more bees
    54. 54. Cage Treatment p = 0.007 Yield(bbl/acre±SE) Closed Open
    55. 55. Native bees in apple •~80 species of bees •>50% of all visits to apple flowers •Habitat diversity -> bee diversity
    56. 56. Native bees in apple
    57. 57. Native bees in cucumber •65 species •More natural habitat = more bees
    58. 58. Native bees in grassland More flowers = more bees
    59. 59. Native bees in biofuels Werling et al. PNAS 2013 Greater plant diversity = more bees, more pollination
    60. 60. Pollinators need habitat Photo: Rollin Coville
    61. 61. How can you provide habitat? • Nesting resources • Floral resources
    62. 62. Nesting resources • Artificial nest boxes K. Ullmann K. Ullmann Photos: Matthew Shepherd; NRCS/Lynn Betts
    63. 63. Nesting resources • Bare, undisturbed ground Photo: Bob Hammond, CO Coop Ext
    64. 64. Nesting resources • Natural habitat © NRCS Lynn Betts© Mace Vaughan
    65. 65. Floral resources - diversity
    66. 66. Foraging resources - timing TAXA APRIL MAY JUNE JULY AUG SEP OCT Colletes (inaequalis, validis) Andrena Augochlora pura Augochlorella striata Halictus (females) Lasioglossum (females) Osmia Bombus © Data from Steve Javorek, Agriculture Canada • Bee flight periods in Nova Scotia
    67. 67. Floral resources - timing • Spring ephemerals
    68. 68. Floral resources • Systemic pesticide use in commercial nurseries
    69. 69. Foraging resources • How to select good bee plants – Locally native plants are better for native bees – Minimum of 3 blooming plants at all times throughout the season (spring, summer, fall) – PLANT IN CLUMPS FOR BEST RESULT!
    70. 70. Protecting the bees • Restrict insecticide use •Use active ingredients with least impact on bees •Spray at night •Consider alternatives •Companion planting •Pheromone traps and baits •Restrict herbicide use K. Ullmann
    71. 71. Native bee conservation • Plant diverse floral plantings that bloom throughout the season • Create and protect nesting sites (nest boxes, bare ground, natural areas) • Limit chemical use in your garden AND ask at the nursery where you buy plants if plants have been treated with SYSTEMIC pesticides
    72. 72. Take home message • Bees are important – 1 in 3 bites you eat depends on bees! • Relying on a single pollinator species is risky – Decline threatens our food supply • Plant flowers!
    73. 73. Further resources The Xerces Society (
    74. 74. Further resources The Xerces Society ( – Pollinator Conservation Resource Center •Plant lists •Conservation guidelines •Pesticide guidelines
    75. 75. Further resources Insect identification • Bug Guide ( • Discover Life (
    76. 76. Hannah Gaines Day 774-392-0498