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Gardening for Bee Pollinators 2011


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This lecture was given in July, 2011 as part of the California native plant gardening series ‘Out of the Wilds and Into Your Garden’

This lecture was given in July, 2011 as part of the California native plant gardening series ‘Out of the Wilds and Into Your Garden’

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  • 1. Buzzing of Bees C.M. Vadheim and T. Drake CSUDH & Madrona Marsh Preserve Madrona Marsh Preserve July 2 & 5, 2011 © Project SOUND
  • 2. Colony Collapse Disorder – our wake-up call collapse-disorder.html © Project SOUND
  • 3. 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, would have a less varied and less healthy diet. © Project SOUND
  • 4. Even before colony collapse disorder, some people were concerned…  Depending on a single source – for anything – should make us all nervous  Better to ‘diversify the portfolio’ for-honey-bee-colony-collapse-disorder-discovered/ European Honey Bee Apis mellifera © Project SOUND
  • 5.  Pollinators at risk:  Non-native pollinators are vulnerable to environmental factors - limited genetic variability  Native pollinators are at risk due to habitat loss, climate change and use of pesticides & herbicides  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  The third week of June is designated National Pollinators Week (The fifth annual National Pollinator Week was June 20-26, 2011 ! © Project SOUND
  • 6. What’s all the buzz about down on the farm? © Project SOUND
  • 7. 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 intoIncreasing interest in the role the biology, ecology andof urban & suburban gardens in use of a variety of nativemaintaining & using native bee beespopulations – ‘NeighborhoodPollinator Preserves’ © Project SOUND
  • 8. Lessons about pollination from ag research 1. Native bee pollinators and pollinator relationships are complex: a. ~ 1500 native bee species in CA b. Honey Bees are actually quite unique compared to most native bees c. Bees differ greatly in food & nesting requirements; we need to understand & plan for these differences  Food sources: generalists & specialists  Time of year food is needed  Nesting requirements: ground; wood; etc. d. We need to better understand species- specific requirements in order to designWe don’t notice native bees conservation plans that maintain pollinationunless we’re looking for function in natural and man-made habitats.them © Project SOUND
  • 9. Lessons about pollination from ag research 1. Native bee pollinator relationships are complex: c. Wild bee populations fluctuate widely from year-to-year (4-fold variation for some species). To ensure reliable pollination from non-domesticated species, maintaining a community of bees, rather than just one species, is necessaryNumber of seeds inpumpkins vs. number of d. Despite year-to-year composition variability,bee species pollination rates fairly constant in farms near natural areas – diversity acts as a buffer e. More species = greater pollination success f. Honey bees play a key role in pollinating native plants – and probably don’t influence the numbers & composition of native bees © Project SOUND
  • 10. Kingdom Animalia (Animals) Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)  Class Insecta (Insects)  Order Hymenoptera (Ants, Bees, Wasps and Sawflies)  Superfamily Apoidea (Bees)  Social Bees - True social insects. Communal nests are built in the soil (bumble bees) or in cavities (honey bees). Workers (sterile females) forage for nectar and pollen.  Family Apidae -- bumble bees and honey bees  Solitary Bees - Adults construct individual nests and provision them with plant materials (usually nectar or pollen).  Family Apidae (formerly Anthophoridae) -- carpenter bees  Family Halictidae -- sweat bees  Family Megachilidae -- leafcutting bees  Family Andrenidae: mining bees © Project SOUND
  • 11. Bees have been around for millions of years, evolving with the flowering plants  Early insects, in their rummaging for food, inadvertently became the agents of pollination; pollen adhering to their bodies was transferred to the female organs of the plant. Trigona prisca, A stingless  A mutualistic relationship meliponine bee-- a fossil of which was preserved in Cretaceous resulted: amber 74-96 million years ago.  the plants benefitted by increased pollination;  and the insects were helping to ensure a better supply of their food source. © Project SOUND
  • 12. Plants and insect pollinators became intimately linked  Eventually, both plants and insects became more and more specialized as a result of the pollinator relationship (co-evolution)  Many pollinator insects evolved behavior and physiology completely dependent upon the cycles of flowering plants.  Similarly, certain plants developed flower structures which benefitted – or excluded - particular types of insects. © Project SOUND
  • 13. The pollination duet continues  Even the structure of pollen, itself, changed. Pollen transferred by insects or other animals usually has spines, ridges or an adhesive surface which aids in attaching to the animal vector.  To attract pollinators, some plants developed specialized organs, nectaries, that secreted a sugary nectar, at the base of the flower. This proved an adaptive advantage since the nectar, as a food source, was a further attraction to many insect species.  Ultimately, the lifestyles of floweringAnd this explains why native bees plants and of pollinating insects becameare often the best pollinators for forever intertwined.native plants © Project SOUND
  • 14. Is it a bee? The anatomy of a bee  Bees have four wings (two pair; difficult to see when folded over the body).  Bees have long, elbowed antennae.  Bees have large, well separated eyes with three small eyes (or “ocelli”) on top of the head.  Bees are more robust (i.e. rounder bodies) than wasps and flies; abdomen usually broad near thorax (vs. most wasps). © Project SOUND
  • 15. Is it a bee?  Most bees are hairy-bodied, with multi-branched hairs (resemble pipe-cleaners or brushes) for carrying pollen.  Female bees can carry large loads of pollen, either on their legs or on their abdomen in a “scopa”.  If you see an insect toting a load of pollen either on its hind legs or beneath its abdomen, it is a female bee. The pollen may be carried as a dry powder in a brush of hairs, or moistened with nectar to form a clump or pellet. © Project SOUND
  • 16. What makes a bee a good pollinator?  Anatomic adaptations  Size  Fuzzy body  Leg adaptations for pollen capture/transport  Behavioral adaptations  Generalist feeding patterns  ? Eusocial behaviorDigger (Miner) Bee – a good pollinator  Long foraging range © Project SOUND
  • 17. Lessons about pollination from ag research 2. Native bees are important pollinators – when available in suitable numbers a. Native, unmanaged bee populations provide important pollination services in nature & on the farm b. Native bees provide up to 30-40% of pollination on some CA organic farms c. Native bee species are an undervalued asset worth up to $2.4 billion to California farmers d. Honeybees are not always the most effective pollinators of a given crop; native bees pollinate some crops not pollinated by honey bees (cherry tomatoes) © Project SOUND
  • 18. Native bees can be more efficient pollinators (on a bee-for-bee basis)  Example: 250 female blue orchard bees (Osmia lignaria) can effectively pollinate an acre of apples; this would require one to two honey bees hives, each containing 15,000 to 20,000 workers.  Reasons for this increased efficiency:  Greater tolerance for cold and wet weather.  Native bees usually must collect both pollen and nectar, ensuring that they contact the anthers (pollen-producing structures); some honey bees just collect nectar. © Project SOUND
  • 19. Reasons for increased efficiency of somenative bees: specialization  High degree of specialization (some bee species).  Example: Squash bees (genus Peponapis), for example, primarily visit flowers of the squash family  Better fit between flower structure & bee anatomy/behavior.  Example: The stamen (the structure holding the anthers) of alfalfa flowers is held under tension - springs forward with force when released by a visiting bee. The alkali bee (Nomia melanderi), a native ground-nesting bee, is not discouraged by this unusual flower structure and is a major pollinator of alfalfa seed in some western states.  Example: buzz pollination (sonication) - very important for some plants such as blueberries, cranberries, tomatoes and peppers © Project SOUND
  • 20. Sex & the single tomato plant  Tomato flowers do not produce nectar  Some newer tomatoes are self- pollinating (through breeding); old varieties require cross-pollination  Tomato pollen is released from pores within the anthers (similar to salt being shaken from a salt shaker)  Pollen is generally accessible only to bees that use ‘buzz pollination’ – theMost visitors to tomato are ability to grasp a flower andnon-Apis bees, particularly vigorously vibrate their flightbumble bees; greenhousetomato growers use bumble muscles, releasing pollen from thebees extensively now anthers [sonication]. © Project SOUND
  • 21. Lessons about pollination from ag research 3. Agricultural and native ecosystems are intimately linked: a. Crop-pollinating bee species are often generalists that pollinate many native plants; restoring pollination services for agriculture could also benefit wild plants and thereby promote conservation of biodiversity across the agro-natural landscape. b. To maintain agricultural pollination services for the future, attention must be given to a variety of strategies including both native ecosystem conservation and on-farm management © Project SOUND
  • 22. Lessons about pollination from ag research 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. © Project SOUND
  • 23. Applications to the home gardenAttracting native bees has the potential to increaseyields for home vegetable & fruit crops © Project SOUND
  • 24. Urban pollinator habitat takes a neighborhood – radius of about 6-10 houses The plant choices you make can benefit your entire neighborhood © Project SOUND
  • 25. 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 neighborhoodSchools and other public lands provide the perfect venue to provideboth habitat and education to the neighborhood © Project SOUND
  • 26. Lessons about pollination from ag research 5. Some plants are better nectar/ pollen sources than others for native bees a. Some crop species [Ex: squash] are important nectar sources for selected native bees [squash bees] b. Native plants provide nectar for both wild and honey bees c. The more intensive the planting of non-native farm crops, the less the bee species diversity – less intensive organic farms had more diversity & more open space © Project SOUND
  • 27. Characteristics of good native bee plants  Long bloom season  Many flowers (often individually small – but many per plant)  Produce both high quality nectar & pollen  Designed specifically to attract bees:  Scent cues  Color/patterning  Shape: good place to land while nectaring © Project SOUND
  • 28. Plant families & genera that provide nectar & pollen for a wide range of native pollinators  Arctostaphylos - Manzanitas  Ceanothus species  Phacelia – FiddlenecksEriogonum - Buckwheat  Lamiaceae – Mint family  Asclepias - Milkweeds  Polygonaceae – Buckwheat Family  Asteraceae – Sunflower family  Clematis – Virgin’s Bowers © Project SOUND Grindelia - Gumplant
  • 29. The Sunflower family (Asteraceae) provides important food in fall  Bloom in summer/ fall  Long bloom seasonGoldenbushes – Hazardia & Isocoma  Nectar and pollen available to many types of pollinators (even ants, beetles)  Lots of small flowers  Flower shape allows many bees to land & feed/collect © Project SOUND Baccharis species
  • 30. Sonoran Bumblebee - Bombus sonorus All black head; thorax yellow, with broad black band between the wings; abdomen yellow except for the hind three segments, which are black. Early spring through summer Generalist pollinator – visits many species to nectar © Project SOUND
  • 31. Generalist & specialist pollinators Most native bees arent too choosy (native; some non-native garden plants; alien weeds); if they can reach the nectar or gather pollen, they can supply their nest. Some bees, however, are very choosy and will only gather pollen from a small number of plant species. In extreme cases, the bee may be restricted to just a single plant species. “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
  • 32. Floral timing is also important when considering native pollinators  Social bees with a long-lived colony, such as bumble bees and honey bees, need flowers blooming throughout the season. You will see these bees most of the year except when it is very cold  Solitary bees usually have a much shorter active period, often no more than five or six weeks, and have life cycles synchronized with the blooming of preferred flower species.  If you want to attract most native bees (the solitary types) you need to plant theDigger (Miner) Bee – summer appropriate species © Project SOUND
  • 33. Black-tailed Bumblebee - Bombus melanopygus edwardsii More yellow on body most of California and Southern Oregon Very early season Works furiously polluting Arctostaphylos species, Ribes species, (Native Gooseberries and Currants) and some Cultivated Plum Varieties (early blooming). © Project SOUND
  • 34. Bombus – the Bumblebees > 250 known species; 45 in the U.S. Large and hairy; black and yellow body hairs, often in bands. They are best distinguished from similarly large, fuzzy bees by the form of the female hind leg, which is modified to form a corbicula: a shiny concave surface that is bare, but surrounded by a fringe of hairs used to transport pollen (‘pollen bag’) Like their relatives the honey bees, bumble bees feed on nectar and gather pollen to feed their young. Believed to be responsible for the pollination of approximately 25% of crops in northern California. High metabolic rate (75% higher than a humming birds!) allows them to forage in early spring © Project SOUND
  • 35. Bumblebee life cycle  Bumble bees live in a colony with a caste system of workers, males and a single egg-laying queen.  Similar to honey bees, bumble bees construct a wax comb  Bumble bees nest in cavities such as abandoned rodent burrows, brush piles and dried grass tussocks The colony grows through 3-4 generations and may have several hundred workers at the peak in mid-summer. Unlike honey bees, bumble bee colonies do not survive over the winter. However, the fertilized queens ‘hibernate’ until spring © Project SOUND
  • 36. A typical front yard…. © Project SOUND
  • 37. What can we use to give the look of theold 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  Summer Holly (Comarostaphylis) © Project SOUND
  • 38. Big Berry Manzanita – Arctostaphylos glauca © Project SOUND
  • 39. 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
  • 40. Big Berry is a large manzanita  Size:  usually 8-12 ft tall; may reach 20  8-15 ft wide  Growth form:  Large woody shrub to small, multi- branched tree; mounded shape  Lovely branch structure – one of the ‘sculptural’ manzanitas  Peeling red bark – showy  Can live 100+ years  Foliage:  Evergreen; leaves pale blue-green  Vertical orientation on branch – looks very precise  Roots: relatively shallow © Project SOUND
  • 41. Flowers: Manzanita type  Blooms:  One of the earliest  usually Dec-Mar in our area  Flowers: typical Manzanita  Small pink flowers  Urn-shaped; in terminal clusters  Key early nectar source for bees and other early-season pollinators  Fruits:  Red ‘little apples’ of manzanita  Relatively large (1/2”); edible  Ripen in late spring/summer  Vegetative reproduction: cannot re-sprout © Project SOUND
  • 42.  Soils: Manzanita for sandy soils  Texture: well-drained, sandy or rocky soils are best  pH: 6.0-7.5 is best  Light: full sun to light shade – typical chaparral shrub  Water:  Winter: needs good winter rains; supplement w/ deep waterings as needed  Summer: treat as Zone 2 first year; then Zone 1-2 or 1 forNote: leaves and litter contain toxic mature plant. Don’t over-wateramounts of arbutin and phenolic acids. mature plants (fungal diseases)These compounds allelopathically inhibitgermination and growth of annuals for a  Fertilizer: none; likes poor soilsdistance of 3.3 to 6.6 feet (1-2 m) fromthe edge of the canopy drip line  Other: use an organic mulch © Project SOUND
  • 43. Bigberry Manzanita: shrub or tree  Easy-care shrub for slopes; good for erosion control  Specimen shrub; needs little pruning  As a small shade tree; open shade  As a key shrub/tree for the habitat garden: bees, butterflies, birds, humans © Project SOUND
  • 44. Converting your yard to bee habitat: one step at a time time you add a food source or createa nesting site you improve theNeighborhood Pollinator Preserve © Project SOUND
  • 45. Lessons about pollination from ag research 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 ones © Project SOUND
  • 46. * White Coast Ceanothus – Ceanothus verrucosus © 2010 Andrew Borcher © Project SOUND
  • 47. * 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 © Project SOUND J.S. Peterson @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database
  • 48. White Coast Ceanothus: large shrub  Size:  6-12 ft tall  6-8 ft wide  Growth form:  Evergreen shrub or small tree; rounded shape  Fast growth – at first  Dense, stiff branches with gray bark & small ‘wart-like’ bumps (leaf attachment)  Foliage:  Shiny dark green above; hairy & white beneath  Simple, rounded leaves© 2003 Charles E. Jones © 2009 Michelle Cloud-Hughes © Project SOUND
  • 49. One of the best white- flowered Ceanothus  Blooms: very early – usually Jan- April  Flowers:  Usually white; occ. light blueJ.S. Peterson @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database  Many tiny ceanothus flowers in tight ball-like clusters at ends of branches  Really showy – looks like covered in snow or white Crepe Myrtle  Sweet scent attracts bees & other pollinators  Fruit:  Dark sticky fruit in summer – birds love it © 2006 Steve Matson © Project SOUND
  • 50. Chaparral shrub  Soils:  Texture: well-drained a must; sandy or rocky best  pH: any local; 6.0-7.0 optimal  Light:  In nature on N-facing slopes  Full sun along coast; part- shade in hotter inland  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
  • 51. Shrub or tree: your choice  Low-care plant for slopes  Background evergreen shrub in dry gardens  Trained as a small tree © 2006 Steve Matson  As an informal or clipped (semi- formal) hedge or screen © Project SOUND
  • 52. Yellow-faced Bumble Bee 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
  • 53. *Desert-willow – Chilopsis linearis © Project SOUND
  • 54. Toyon/California Christmas Berry – Heteromeles arbutifolia
  • 55. Not all situations are suitable for native pollinator plants: good, productive alternatives © Project SOUND
  • 56. Lessons about pollination from ag research 7. Lack of suitable nest sites can be a serious limitation to native pollinator conservation a. Species differ in their nesting needs b. In many California locations, habitat alteration or destruction, not lack of food, eliminated native pollinators. c. Bare ground needed for ground- dwelling native bees; this is becoming rare in both rural & urban areas d. Certain practices destroy nest sites: tilling, early cutting, grazing – even mulching – decrease nest sites for some species © Project SOUND
  • 57. Most native bees are not hive-builders  ~ 70 percent of native bees excavate underground nests. Solitary bees dig narrow tunnels leading to a series of brood chambers, each one provisioned with a mixture of pollen and nectar and each holding a single egg.  ~30 percent of bees nest in wood tunnels, usually pre-existing holes such as those made by wood-boring beetles, but some will chew out the center of pithy twigs. Females create a line of brood cells, often using materials such as leaf pieces or mud as partitions between cells. © Project SOUND
  • 58. Providing homes for native pollinators Learn more about the nesting requirements of local bees – they may be quite specific Provide natural sites if possible: bare ground; old tree stumps Learn about how you can construct pollinator ‘homes’ in your garden: many good resources on-line © Project SOUND
  • 59. Large Carpenter Bees - Genus Xylocopa  ~ 500 species worldwide  Large – sometimes mistaken for bumble bees, but they have a shiny (not hairy) abdomen  Their name comes from the fact that nearly all species build their nests in burrows in dead wood, bamboo, or structural timbers  Female carpenter bees are capable of stinging, but they are docile and rarely sting unless caught in the hand or otherwise directly provoked © Project SOUND
  • 60. Valley carpenter bee (Xylocopa varipuncta): fun to watch  A widespread western US species  Generalists - may be found foraging on a number of different species : Asclepias, Salvia, Trichostema, and Wislizenia for nectar; Eschscholzia and Lupinus for pollen.  They, like bumblebees are early morning foragers.  Quite active – but can be photographed withAlso utilize culinary herbs patiencesuch as basil, mint,  Carpenter bees can “buzz pollinate” -rosemary, oregano, excellent pollinators of eggplant, tomato andlavender, and thyme. other vegetables and flowers.  Can be nectar robbers in plants with tubular flowers. Using their mouthparts they cut a slit at the base of corolla and steal away with the nectar without having pollinated the flower. © Project SOUND
  • 61. Sex life of the Valley Carpenter Bee: it just gets better the more we know!  Green-eyed golden males (the females are all black) have huge perfume glands in their thoraces.  Territorial males take up positions in non-flowering plants near other males – often near Mulefat.  As a group (lek) they actively release their rose-scented blend of chemicals.  Females are attracted from downwind and choose a male with which to mate. © Project SOUND
  • 62. Landscape established: shrubs, lackluster  Considerations: 1. Appropriate size/scale 2. Fits with existing home/landscape: water; color scheme; etc. 3. Provide better bee habitat – focus on generalist foragers © Project SOUND
  • 63. Lupines provide early/mid-season nectar for large bees © Project SOUND
  • 64. Silver Bush Lupine – Lupinus albifrons © Project SOUND
  • 65. Longleaf Bush Lupine - Lupinus longifolius © Project SOUND
  • 66. Longleaf Bush Lupine - Lupinus longifolius  Formerly Lupinus chamissonis var. longifolius  Southwestern CA from Santa Barbara to Baja  Coastal sage scrub, chaparral and oak woodland  Formerly frequent in the foothills and on bluffs along the seashore in Los Angeles, Orange & San Diego counties  Longifolius = long-leaved,4023,4099 © Project SOUND
  • 67. Ah… a bush lupine for your CSS garden  Size:  3-5 ft tall & wide  Growth form:  Mounded perennial shrub – typical shrub Lupine  Stems are woody, erect  Foliage:  Gray-green leaves; slightly hairy  Leaves on 4” petiole; 6-9 leaflets that are slightly longer than other local bush lupines  Flowers:  Spring: usually April-June  Light violet-purple lupine flowers with yellow banner spot  Flowering quite typical for lupines  Seed pod: typical lupine pod © Project SOUND
  • 68. Lupines are good for sunny, dry places  Soils:  Texture: well-drained is a must (as for most local bush lupines)  pH: any local is fine  Light:  full sun (coastal) to part shade  Water:  Young plants: weekly (as needed) until established  Winter: moist soils; monitor & supplement in very dry years  Summer:  Quite drought-tolerant; can get by with no water in part-shade  Will take infrequent (1-2 x per month) if soils are well-drained  Fertilizer:  None needed & use will likely decrease lifespan (true for all the bush lupines)  Plant will improve soil fertility by increasing available nitrogen (typical of Pea family) © Project SOUND
  • 69. Salvias: good bee plants, but large size Remember: consider mature size when choosing any plant to include in a mature landscape You get a lot of ‘habitat’ area from shrubs – most productive © Project SOUND
  • 70. Sunflowers are good summer bee plants But many of them are also rather large So what choices do I have if I want attract these little bees – but have so little/no space? © Project SOUND
  • 71. Family Halictidae, Sweat Bees  Large (> 2000 known species) and diverse Family  Small (> 4 mm) to midsize (> 8 mm)  Usually dark-colored and often metallic in appearance. Several species are all or partly green  Commonly referred to as sweat bees (especially the smaller species), as they are often attracted to perspiration; when pinched, females can give a minor sting.  The oldest fossil record of Halictidae dates back to Early Eocene with a number of species known from amber deposits. © Project SOUND
  • 72. Halictid bees are summer foragers  Generalists – will visit many different species of summer-blooming plants; love sunflowers – but you’ll see them on other species as well  Adults are pollen eaters; larva are pollen & nectar eaters  Nesting:  Solitary or slightly social. Depending on the species, the females might dig their nests close together, sometimes even sharing a common entrance tunnel.  Build their vertical burrowed nests in the ground, usually in clay or sandy soil.  Populations are declining due to loss of habitat © Project SOUND
  • 73. Lessons about pollination from ag research 9. ‘Out of the way’ places can be utilized for bee habitat a. Bees can seek out patchy resources and persist within small fragments of habitat b. Restored patches can be largely located in less productive, larger “source” areas off-farm and as small patches of “stepping-stone” habitat on nonproductive farm areas [e.g., around tail water ponds and ditches, as hedgerows, along roads, etc. © Project SOUND
  • 74. What’s all the buzz in farm land? Providing habitat for native pollinators  Native hedgerows & windbreaks around farm borders promotes pollinators and natural enemies to pests without taking land out of production.  Green manures/orchard groundcovers provide erosion & pollination services  Bee pastures and other native patch restorationNative groundcovers forroadsides, irrigation ditches and  Riparian buffers provide habitatother non-cultivated areas for bees and other wildlife as well as flood control and water purification © Project SOUND
  • 75. Applications to the home garden Many Ag growers may already have an abundance of potential habitat for native pollinators on or near their land. Having semi- natural or natural habitat available significantly increases pollinator You may also have ‘out-of-the- way’ places that can support pollinators There are good pollinator plants that do well in small spaces: vines, sub-shrubs, perennials & annuals © Project SOUND
  • 76. Coastal (Dune) Buckwheat - Eriogonum parvifolium
  • 77. Ashy-leaf Buckwheat – Eriogonum cinereum © Project SOUND
  • 78. California Buckwheat - Eriogonum fasciculatum © Project SOUND
  • 79. Characteristics of California Buckwheat  Size: similar to Dune Buckwheat  2-5 ft tall  3-5 ft wide; ‘fill-in’ an area  Growth form:  low mounded semi-evergreen shrub  Many-branched  Foliage:  Leave alternate, but densely clustered at nodes, evergreen, narrow lanceolate (nearly needle-like) © Project SOUND
  • 80. Buckwheat – E. parvifolium CA Buckwheat – E. fasciculatum © Project SOUND
  • 81. Garden requirements are similar for mostlocal Buckwheats  Soils:  Texture:  Best in well-drained soils; Dune Buckwheat thrives in sandy soils  Most will do fine even in clays with careful water management  pH: any local  Light:  Most are fairly adaptable; full sun best near coast; part shade in hotter gardens  Summer water:  Very drought tolerant once established  Look a little better with occasional summer water; let soil dry  Fertilizer: none; like poor soils
  • 82. CA Buckwheat:  Great for summer color: May-showy for months Nov. possible  As an alternative to the non- native Rosemary  In perennial beds  On parking strips & bordering paths and driveways  For erosion control  larval foodsource for Morman Metalmark, Bramble Hairstreak, Common Hairstreak, Avalon Hairstreak Shrubby Buckwheats can even be sheared to shape for a more formal look © Project SOUND
  • 83. CA Buckwheat cultivars make goodgroundcovers  ‘Dana Point’ - brighter green leaf, more mounding than species  Bruce Dickinson – good for groundcover; stays close to the ground, spreads nicely, and holds good form throughout the year.  ‘Theodore Payne – low groundcover (1 ft high; 1-3 ft spread)  Warriner Lytle - A sprawling low growing California buckwheat; can ‘Dana Point’ grow to 2 feet tall but is often more prostrate, hugging the ground like a mat © Project SOUND
  • 84. Even small spaces can be bee heaven © Project SOUND
  • 85. Phacelias are among our best general nectar sources in spring  Many flowers per stalk  Produce lots of high-quality nectarLarge-flowered Phacelia - Phacelia grandiflora  Nectar is easy for many types of pollinators to get to  Open over a long period of time – open ‘up the stalk’  High flower to foliage ratio – lots of energy put into floral production  Easy to grow – under many conditions - dependable Tansey-leaf Phacelia – Phacelia tanecetifolia © Project SOUND
  • 86. * Coast (California) Phacelia – Phacelia californica © Project SOUND
  • 87. * Coast Phacelia – Phacelia californica  Coastal bluffs and canyons from Santa Clara County to Del Norte County, below 1500‘ & into OR  ?? 1 report from San Gabriel Mtns  Rocky bluffs and canyons; grows in chaparral, woodland, and coastal bluffs and grassland,4587,4599 © Project SOUND
  • 88. Coast Phacelia: a delightful perennial  Size:  1-3 ft tall (foliage ~ 1 ft)  1-3 ft wide  Growth form:  Herbaceous perennial  Low-growing (1-2 ft in garden); ground-cover Fast-growing© 2011 Neal Kramer   Foliage:  Light to medium green; hairy (contact dermatitis)  Large, mint-type leaves growing in basal rosette  Looks like a garden plant © Project SOUND
  • 89. Showiest of Phacelias  Blooms:  Long bloom season: spring to summer  Can bloom April to July with some summer water© 2011 Neal Kramer  Flowers:  Pale lavender to pink  Typical bell-shaped Phacelia flowers  Open up along a stout flowering stalk  Excellent nectar source for bees, butterflies  Seeds: many small seeds – will naturalize if happy © Project SOUND
  • 90. Coast Phacelia: from seed or plugs  Phacelias tend to be easy to grow from seed  No pretreatments; plant in winter/spring  Plants available from Hedgerow Farms © Project SOUND
  • 91. Versatile Phacelia  Soils:  Texture: likes a well-drained soil, but will tale most any  pH: any local  Light:  Quite adaptable  Full sun to part-sun, dappled shade; some shade best in hot gardens  Water:© Br. Alfred Brousseau, Saint Marys College  Winter: good winter rains  Summer: wide range from weekly irrigation to drought tolerant; best Zone 2 to 2-3  Fertilizer: fine with light fertilizer  Other: organic mulch OK but not required © Project SOUND
  • 92. Coast Phacelia: a filler plant  In pots & planters; along walls  An herbaceous groundcover under high trees  Mixed with grasses & other plants for a N. CA coastal prairie  Around lawns & other irrigated areas © Project SOUND
  • 93. Bees can be happy in small spaces © Project SOUND
  • 94. Lessons about pollination from ag research 9. Creating native ‘bee habitat’ confers additional benefits a. Attracts other beneficial insects b. Attracts beneficial birds and wildlife; food, cover & nest sites c. Erosion/soil conservation benefits: wind & water d. Makes the landscape more attractive for human inhabitants © Project SOUND
  • 95. Advantages of ‘Pollinator Plants’ for the home garden  They are often showy & pretty; usually lots of blooms and attractive scents (remember, they have to attract their pollinators)  They will increase pollination of food plants, leading to better production  They will attract wonderful insects to your garden – hours of entertainment for the whole family (or neighborhood)  They are ecologically sound – an important part of local ecosystems © Project SOUND
  • 96. There are many attractive choices… © Project SOUND
  • 97. Indian Milkweed - Asclepias eriocarpa
  • 98. Milkweeds  Milkweeds are found in many areas of CA  In the South Bay, Narrow- leaf Milkweed found onlyIndian Milkweed in S. Channel Islands  Sites are typically  Dry  Sunny  Barren soil (bare areas in chaparral/Oak woodlands; streambeds; alluvial areas)Narrow-leaf Milkweed
  • 99. Characteristics of Indian Milkweed  Hairy, gray-green perennial  2-3 ft. tall and wide  Flowers cream-pink, June-Aug.  Pollinated by bees, insects and butterflies  Has a long taproot – best if planted in place
  • 100. Indian Milkweed is a food source for butterflies and other insects Variable checkerspot butterfly (Euphydryas chalcedona) Photo by Gabi McLean es/Tarantula_Hawk.htm _29025.htm Tarantula Hawk (Pepsis mildei)
  • 101. Narrow-leaf Milkweed - Asclepias fascicularis
  • 102. Showy Milkweed – Asclepias speciosa© 2004 George W. Hartwell © Project SOUND
  • 103. Tricks to gardening with Milkweeds  Easy to grow  Plant (seeds) in place if possible  Do best in well-drained soil – but can tolerate clay if not over-watered  Full to part sun  Average water needs – keep somewhat dry. Can tolerate winter flooding  Cut back to ground in winter (native Californians burned it to encourage healthy growth)
  • 104. Consider Using Milkweeds  For butterfly/pollinator gardens  For showy white-pink flowers in summer  Along paths and walkways  In mid-beds – would look nice with brighter pinks and purple flowers
  • 105. Lessons about pollination from ag research 10. Farm practices matter a. Use of pesticides & herbicides decreases number of native & honey bees b. mowing, haying, burning or grazing and other farm (and garden) practices can destroy nests c. Growing a diversity of plants – crop & native – benefits pollinator diversity © Project SOUND
  • 106. Blue Toadflax – Nuttallanthus (Linaria) canadensis © Project SOUND
  • 107. Blue Toadflax – Nuttallanthus (Linaria) canadensis  Grows in much of N. America from Canada to Mexico  In western CA from OR to Baja; locally in coastal prairie, PV  Open sandy areas that are moist in winter/ spring , then dry with summer © Project SOUND
  • 108. Blue Toadflax: an annual for small places  Size:  1-2 ft tall  ~ 1 ft wide  Growth form:  Herbaceous biennial/ annual  Foliage:  Blue-green to green  Leaves long & narrow  Many leafy stems from the base  Foliage poisonous if eaten © Project SOUND
  • 109. Flowers are dainty  Blooms: late spring/summer ; can be Apr-Sept with a little summer water  Flowers:  Small (1/2”), lavender-white  Look like small snapdragons; on sturdy stalk  Open up the stalk – long bloom period  Butterflies (Buckeye larval food) & bees (bumblebees & long-tongued bees)  Seeds:  Many tiny seeds; will naturalize © Project SOUND
  • 110. Let Toadflax weave through the garden  As a secondary plant in cottage gardens or mixed flower beds  In rock gardens, ‘streams’ or rain gardens  In a native prairie area  Consider non-native Purple toadflax as an alternative © Project SOUND
  • 111. Summary: lessons about bee pollinators1. Native pollinators and pollinator relationships are complex2. Native bees are important pollinators when available in suitable numbers3. Agricultural and native ecosystems are linked4. Proximity matters: food sources must be near nest sites5. Some plants are better nectar/pollen sources than others for native bees6. Size matters: there must be enough suitable food7. Lack of suitable nest sites can be a serious limitation8. Often ‘out of the way’ (non-productive) places can be utilized for bee habitat9. Creating native ‘bee habitat’ confers additional benefits10. Farm/garden practices matter © Project SOUND
  • 112. What can we do to promote our nativepollinators?  Plant the plants they need for food – at all stages of their lives.  Provide places where they can reproduce and provide for their young  Protect them by practicing Integrated Pest Management – limited use of pesticides  Teach others – by word and example – about the importance of native pollinators © Project SOUND
  • 113. Remember, it takes a neighborhood to provide habitat © Project SOUND
  • 114. Share with your neighbors: three simple things to make your neighborhood pollinator friendly  provide a range of locally native flowering plants that bloom throughout the growing season  create nest sites for native pollinators  avoid using pesticides © Project SOUND