Bee Garden - Notes


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Bee Garden - Notes

  1. 1. 1/6/2013Out of the Wilds and Into Your Garden Buzzing of Bees C.M. Vadheim and T. Drake CSUDH & Madrona Marsh Preserve Gardening with Western L.A. County Native Plants Madrona Marsh Preserve Project SOUND – 2011 (our 7th year) July 2 & 5, 2011 © Project SOUND © Project SOUND Colony Collapse Disorder – our wake-up call Why worry about bee pollinators?  Bees are “keystone organisms” in most terrestrial ecosystems.  Bees are essential for maintaining the integrity, productivity and sustainability of many types of ecosystems: natural areas, pastures, fields, meadows, roadsides, many agricultural crops, fruit orchards, and backyard vegetable and flower gardens.  Without bees, many flowering plants would eventually become extinct.  Without the work of bees, many fruit- and seed-eating birds and some mammals, including people, collapse-disorder.html would have a less varied and less healthy diet. © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 1
  2. 2. 1/6/2013 Even before colony collapse disorder,  Pollinators at risk: some people were concerned…  Non-native pollinators are vulnerable to environmental factors - limited genetic variability  Depending on a single source – for anything – should make  Native pollinators are at risk due to habitat loss, climate change and use us all nervous of pesticides & herbicides  Better to ‘diversify the portfolio’  Decline in native bee species world- Honeybee Colony Collapse Disorder wide since 1980  Crop production world-wide is decreasing (since at least 1990) due to decreasing numbers of pollinators  So we all should be worried – and taking action for-honey-bee-colony-collapse-disorder-discovered/  The third week of June is designated European Honey Bee National Pollinators Week (The fifth Apis mellifera annual National Pollinator Week was June 20-26, 2011 ! © Project SOUND © Project SOUND What’s all the buzz about down on the farm? California: leader in bee research & practice  Active bee research center at UC Davis – over 75 years of practical research  Laidlaw Honey Bee Research Facility  Initial research focused on the European Honey Bee (Apis mellifera)  Increasing research into Increasing interest in the role the biology, ecology and of urban & suburban gardens in use of a variety of native maintaining & using native bee bees populations – ‘Neighborhood Pollinator Preserves’ © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 2
  3. 3. 1/6/2013 Lessons about pollination from ag research Lessons about pollination from ag research 1. Native bee pollinators and pollinator 1. Native bee pollinator relationships are relationships are complex: complex: a. ~ 1500 native bee species in CA c. Wild bee populations fluctuate widely from year-to-year (4-fold variation for some b. Honey Bees are actually quite unique species). To ensure reliable pollination from compared to most native bees non-domesticated species, maintaining a community of bees, rather than just one c. Bees differ greatly in food & nesting species, is necessary requirements; we need to understand & Number of seeds in plan for these differences pumpkins vs. number of d. Despite year-to-year composition variability,  Food sources: generalists & specialists bee species pollination rates fairly constant in farms near  Time of year food is needed natural areas – diversity acts as a buffer  Nesting requirements: ground; wood; etc. e. More species = greater pollination success d. We need to better understand species- f. Honey bees play a key role in pollinating specific requirements in order to design native plants – and probably don’t influenceWe don’t notice native bees conservation plans that maintain pollination the numbers & composition of native beesunless we’re looking for function in natural and man-made habitats.them © Project SOUND © Project SOUND Kingdom Animalia (Animals) Bees have been around for millions of  Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods) years, evolving with the flowering plants  Class Insecta (Insects)  Early insects, in their rummaging  Order Hymenoptera (Ants, Bees, Wasps and Sawflies) for food, inadvertently became  Superfamily Apoidea (Bees) the agents of pollination; pollen  Social Bees - True social insects. Communal nests are adhering to their bodies was built in the soil (bumble bees) or in cavities (honey transferred to the female organs bees). Workers (sterile females) forage for nectar and of the plant. pollen.  Family Apidae -- bumble bees and honey bees Trigona prisca, A stingless  A mutualistic relationship meliponine bee-- a fossil of which  Solitary Bees - Adults construct individual nests and was preserved in Cretaceous resulted: provision them with plant materials (usually nectar or amber 74-96 million years ago.  the plants benefitted by pollen). increased pollination;  Family Apidae (formerly Anthophoridae) -- carpenter bees  and the insects were helping to  Family Halictidae -- sweat bees ensure a better supply of their  Family Megachilidae -- leafcutting bees food source.  Family Andrenidae: mining bees © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 3
  4. 4. 1/6/2013 Plants and insect pollinators became The pollination duet intimately linked continues  Even the structure of pollen, itself,  Eventually, both plants and insects changed. Pollen transferred by insects became more and more specialized or other animals usually has spines, as a result of the pollinator ridges or an adhesive surface which relationship (co-evolution) aids in attaching to the animal vector.  Many pollinator insects evolved  To attract pollinators, some plants developed specialized organs, nectaries, behavior and physiology completely dependent upon the cycles of that secreted a sugary nectar, at the base of the flower. This proved an flowering plants. adaptive advantage since the nectar, as  Similarly, certain plants developed a food source, was a further attraction to many insect species. flower structures which benefitted – or excluded -  Ultimately, the lifestyles of flowering particular types of insects. And this explains why native bees plants and of pollinating insects became are often the best pollinators for forever intertwined. © Project SOUND native plants © Project SOUND Is it a bee? The anatomy of a bee Is it a bee?  Most bees are hairy-bodied, with multi-branched hairs (resemble pipe-cleaners or  Bees have four wings (two pair; brushes) for carrying pollen. difficult to see when folded over the body).  Female bees can carry large loads of pollen, either on  Bees have long, elbowed their legs or on their antennae. abdomen in a “scopa”.  Bees have large, well separated  If you see an insect toting a eyes with three small eyes (or load of pollen either on its “ocelli”) on top of the head. hind legs or beneath its  Bees are more robust (i.e. abdomen, it is a female bee. rounder bodies) than wasps and The pollen may be carried as a flies; abdomen usually broad dry powder in a brush of hairs, near thorax (vs. most wasps). or moistened with nectar to form a clump or pellet. © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 4
  5. 5. 1/6/2013 Lessons about pollination from ag research What makes a bee a good pollinator? 2. Native bees are important pollinators – when available in suitable numbers  Anatomic adaptations a. Native, unmanaged bee populations  Size provide important pollination services in nature & on the farm  Fuzzy body  Leg adaptations for b. Native bees provide up to 30-40% of pollen capture/transport pollination on some CA organic farms c. Native bee species are an undervalued  Behavioral adaptations asset worth up to $2.4 billion to California farmers  Generalist feeding d. Honeybees are not always the most patterns grow-hanging-tomato-plants/ effective pollinators of a given crop;  ? Eusocial behavior native bees pollinate some crops not Digger (Miner) Bee – a good pollinator pollinated by honey bees (cherry  Long foraging range tomatoes) © Project SOUND © Project SOUND Native bees can be more efficient pollinators (on a Reasons for increased efficiency of some bee-for-bee basis) native bees: specialization  Example: 250 female blue orchard bees  High degree of specialization (some bee species). (Osmia lignaria) can effectively pollinate  Example: Squash bees (genus Peponapis), for example, primarily visit flowers of the squash family an acre of apples; this would require one to two honey bees hives, each containing  Better fit between flower structure & bee 15,000 to 20,000 workers. anatomy/behavior.  Reasons for this increased efficiency:  Example: The stamen (the structure holding the anthers) of alfalfa flowers is held under tension -  Greater tolerance for cold and wet springs forward with force when released by a weather. visiting bee. The alkali bee (Nomia melanderi), a  Native bees usually must collect both native ground-nesting bee, is not discouraged by this pollen and nectar, ensuring that they unusual flower structure and is a major pollinator of contact the anthers (pollen-producing alfalfa seed in some western states. structures); some honey bees just collect  Example: buzz pollination (sonication) - very nectar. important for some plants such as blueberries, cranberries, tomatoes and peppers © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 5
  6. 6. 1/6/2013 Sex & the single tomato plant Lessons about pollination from ag research 3. Agricultural and native ecosystems  Tomato flowers do not produce nectar are intimately linked:  Some newer tomatoes are self- a. Crop-pollinating bee species are pollinating (through breeding); old often generalists that pollinate many varieties require cross-pollination native plants; restoring pollination services for agriculture could also  Tomato pollen is released from pores benefit wild plants and thereby within the anthers (similar to salt promote conservation of biodiversity being shaken from a salt shaker) across the agro-natural landscape.  Pollen is generally accessible only to b. To maintain agricultural pollination Function_in_an_Organic_Farmscape_in_Y.htm bees that use ‘buzz pollination’ – the services for the future, attentionMost visitors to tomato are ability to grasp a flower and must be given to a variety ofnon-Apis bees, particularly vigorously vibrate their flight strategies including both nativebumble bees; greenhouse ecosystem conservation and on-farm muscles, releasing pollen from thetomato growers use bumble managementbees extensively now anthers [sonication]. © Project SOUND © Project SOUND Lessons about pollination from ag research Applications to the home garden 4. Proximity matters a. The presence native pollinators strongly correlates with the amount of native habitat nearby b. Native bees venture farther into agricultural fields than honey bees c. The flight distance varies with the size of the bee. Small sweat bees and mining bees may not fly more than 200 or 300 yards from nest to forage area. Large bees (bumble bees, for example) can cross a mile or more of inhospitable, flowerless landscape to forage. Attracting native bees has the potential to increase yields for home vegetable & fruit crops © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 6
  7. 7. 1/6/2013Urban pollinator habitat takes a neighborhood – radius of about 6-10 houses What does it take to bee a good neighbor?  Bee response to urban habitat fragmentation was best predicted by ecological traits associated with nesting and dietary breadth  Provide the right habitat – even in a small area – and you can make a difference in your neighborhood Schools and other public lands provide the perfect venue to provide both habitat and education to the neighborhood The plant choices you make can benefit your entire neighborhood © Project SOUND © Project SOUNDLessons about pollination from ag research Characteristics of good native bee plants 5. Some plants are better nectar/  Long bloom season pollen sources than others for native bees  Many flowers (often individually small – but many per plant) a. Some crop species [Ex: squash] are important nectar sources for  Produce both high quality nectar & selected native bees [squash pollen bees]  Designed specifically to attract b. Native plants provide nectar for bees: both wild and honey bees  Scent cues c. The more intensive the planting of  Color/patterning non-native farm crops, the less  Shape: good place to land while the bee species diversity – less intensive organic farms had more nectaring diversity & more open space © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 7
  8. 8. 1/6/2013Plant families & genera that provide nectar & pollen The Sunflower family for a wide range of native pollinators (Asteraceae) provides important food in fall  Arctostaphylos - Manzanitas  Bloom in summer/ fall  Ceanothus species  Long bloom season  Phacelia – Fiddlenecks Goldenbushes – Hazardia & Isocoma  Nectar and pollen availableEriogonum - Buckwheat  Lamiaceae – Mint family to many types of pollinators  Asclepias - Milkweeds (even ants, beetles)  Polygonaceae – Buckwheat Family  Lots of small flowers  Asteraceae – Sunflower family  Flower shape allows many bees to land & feed/collect  Clematis – Virgin’s Bowers © Project SOUND © Project SOUND Grindelia - Gumplant Baccharis species Sonoran Bumblebee - Bombus sonorus Generalist & specialist pollinators  All black head; thorax yellow,  Most native bees arent too choosy (native; some non-native with broad black band between garden plants; alien weeds); if they can reach the nectar or the wings; abdomen yellow gather pollen, they can supply their nest. except for the hind three segments, which are black.  Some bees, however, are very choosy and will only gather pollen from a small number of plant species. In extreme  Early spring through summer cases, the bee may be restricted to just a single plant species.  Generalist pollinator – visits many species to nectar  “Generalist” bee species visit a large variety of plants and crops, in contrast to “specialist” bee species which forage on a restricted group of plants.  ‘Generalist’ pollinators can be extremely useful in both the farm & garden setting © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 8
  9. 9. 1/6/2013 Floral timing is also important when Black-tailed Bumblebee - considering native pollinators Bombus melanopygus edwardsii  Social bees with a long-lived colony, such  More yellow on body as bumble bees and honey bees, need flowers blooming throughout the season.  most of California and You will see these bees most of the year Southern Oregon except when it is very cold  Very early season  Solitary bees usually have a much shorter active period, often no more than five or  Works furiously polluting six weeks, and have life cycles Arctostaphylos species, synchronized with the blooming of Ribes species, (Native preferred flower species. Gooseberries and Currants) and some Cultivated Plum  If you want to attract most native bees Varieties (early blooming). (the solitary types) you need to plant theDigger (Miner) Bee – summer appropriate species © Project SOUND © Project SOUND Bumblebee life cycle Bombus – the  Bumble bees live in a colony Bumblebees with a caste system of workers, males and a single egg-laying queen.  > 250 known species; 45 in the U.S.  Similar to honey bees, bumble bees construct a wax comb  Large and hairy; black and yellow body hairs, often in bands.  Bumble bees nest in cavities  They are best distinguished from similarly large, fuzzy bees by the such as abandoned rodent form of the female hind leg, which is modified to form a corbicula: a burrows, brush piles and dried shiny concave surface that is bare, but surrounded by a fringe of hairs used to transport pollen (‘pollen bag’) grass tussocks  Like their relatives the honey bees, bumble bees feed on nectar and  The colony grows through 3-4 generations and may have gather pollen to feed their young. Believed to be responsible for the pollination of approximately 25% of crops in northern California. several hundred workers at the peak in mid-summer.  High metabolic rate (75% higher than a humming birds!) allows them to  Unlike honey bees, bumble bee colonies do not survive over the forage in early spring winter. However, the fertilized queens ‘hibernate’ until spring © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 9
  10. 10. 1/6/2013 What can we use to give the look of the old crepe myrtle, and provide ‘bee food’?  The following all provide many flowers loved by bees:  Early:  Manzanitas (Arctostaphylos)  Early/Mid-season  California Lilac (Ceanothus)  Late spring/summer  Desert Willow (Chilopsis)  Toyon A typical front yard….  Summer Holly (Comarostaphylis) © Project SOUND © Project SOUNDBig Berry Manzanita – Arctostaphylos glauca Big Berry Manzanita – Arctostaphylos glauca  CA foothills from central CA to Baja; includes foothills of Mojave Desert mtns.  Locally in Santa Monica and San Gabriel Mtns.  Rocky slopes, chaparral, woodland < 4500 ft  Soils range from sandy loam with considerable coarse fragments to loam.,3454,3477 s2/factsheet.cfm?ID=479 © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 10
  11. 11. 1/6/2013 Big Berry is a large manzanita Flowers: Manzanita type  Size:  Blooms:  usually 8-12 ft tall; may reach 20  One of the earliest  8-15 ft wide  usually Dec-Mar in our area  Growth form:  Flowers: typical Manzanita  Large woody shrub to small, multi-  Small pink flowers branched tree; mounded shape  Urn-shaped; in terminal clusters  Lovely branch structure – one of  Key early nectar source for bees the ‘sculptural’ manzanitas and other early-season  Peeling red bark – showy pollinators  Can live 100+ years  Fruits:  Foliage:  Red ‘little apples’ of manzanita  Evergreen; leaves pale blue-green  Relatively large (1/2”); edible  Vertical orientation on branch –  Ripen in late spring/summer looks very precise  Vegetative reproduction: cannot  Roots: relatively shallow re-sprout © Project SOUND © Project SOUND  Soils: Bigberry Manzanita: shrub or tree Manzanita for sandy soils  Texture: well-drained, sandy or rocky soils are best  Easy-care shrub for slopes; good for  pH: 6.0-7.5 is best erosion control  Light: full sun to light shade –  Specimen shrub; needs little pruning typical chaparral shrub  As a small shade tree; open shade  As a key shrub/tree for the habitat  Water: garden: bees, butterflies, birds,  Winter: needs good winter humans rains; supplement w/ deep waterings as needed  Summer: treat as Zone 2 first year; then Zone 1-2 or 1 for Note: leaves and litter contain toxic mature plant. Don’t over-water amounts of arbutin and phenolic acids. mature plants (fungal diseases) These compounds allelopathically inhibit germination and growth of annuals for a  Fertilizer: none; likes poor soils distance of 3.3 to 6.6 feet (1-2 m) from the edge of the canopy drip line  Other: use an organic mulch © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 11
  12. 12. 1/6/2013 Converting your yard to bee habitat: one Lessons about pollination from ag research step at a time 6. Size matters: a. More native plants = more native bees; around 30-40% optimal for watermelons, but even less provides some pollination service b. Amount of native vegetation nearby is best predictor of pollinator services; even 10% by area increases pollination rates c. You can achieve native flower density with a few big plants or lots of small onesEach time you add a food source or createa nesting site you improve theNeighborhood Pollinator Preserve © Project SOUND © Project SOUND * White Coast Ceanothus – Ceanothus verrucosus * White Coast Ceanothus – Ceanothus verrucosus  Strictly coastal (western San Diego County and adjacent Baja California)  Possibly collected by Theodore Payne from Seven Oaks (LA Co.) in 1919  Dry hills, mesas, chaparral; elevation < 900‘  AKA ‘Wart-stemmed Ceanothus’,6589,6653 © 2010 Andrew Borcher © Project SOUND © Project SOUND J.S. Peterson @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database 12
  13. 13. 1/6/2013 White Coast Ceanothus: large shrub One of the best white- flowered Ceanothus  Size:  6-12 ft tall  Blooms: very early – usually Jan- April  6-8 ft wide  Flowers:  Growth form:  Usually white; occ. light blue  Evergreen shrub or small tree; rounded shape J.S. Peterson @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database  Many tiny ceanothus flowers in tight ball-like clusters at  Fast growth – at first ends of branches  Dense, stiff branches with  Really showy – looks like gray bark & small ‘wart-like’ covered in snow or white bumps (leaf attachment) Crepe Myrtle  Foliage:  Sweet scent attracts bees & other pollinators  Shiny dark green above; hairy & white beneath  Fruit:  Simple, rounded leaves  Dark sticky fruit in summer – birds love it© 2003 Charles E. Jones © 2006 Steve Matson © 2009 Michelle Cloud-Hughes © Project SOUND © Project SOUND Chaparral shrub  Soils: Shrub or tree: your choice  Texture: well-drained a must; sandy or rocky best  Low-care plant for slopes  pH: any local; 6.0-7.0 optimal  Background evergreen shrub in  Light: dry gardens  In nature on N-facing slopes  Trained as a small tree  Full sun along coast; part- shade in hotter inland © 2006 Steve Matson  As an informal or clipped (semi- formal) hedge or screen  Water:  Winter: needs adequate water  Summer: low needs once established – Zone 1-2 probably best (1-2 times per summer) in most soils; to Zone 2 in sandy  Fertilizer: none; likes poor soils  Other: organic mulch recommended © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 13
  14. 14. 1/6/2013 Yellow-faced Bumble Bee *Desert-willow – Chilopsis linearis Bombus vosnesenskii  Most common bumblebee of California ; San Diego throughout most of California (except the desert areas) to British Columbia  Largely a summer bee - most of the hive living from April to September  Wide generalist feeder  Slow and easy to photograph  Nests in the ground, commonly in old gopher holes.  Has a wicked sting, and they can sting repeatedly - but only when provoked © Project SOUND © Project SOUNDToyon/California Christmas Berry – Not all situations are suitable for native pollinator Heteromeles arbutifolia plants: good, productive alternatives © Project SOUND 14
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