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Region 5 Refuge Bee Project

A blog that will gradually post the results of a study of the bees found by refuge biologists and volunteers using bee bowls traps on USFWS Region 5 National Wildlife Refuges in the Northeastern United States.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

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Morandin, L. A. and C. Kremen (2013). "Bee preference for native versus exotic plants in restored agricultural hedgerows." Restoration Ecology 21(1): 26-32.
         Habitat restoration to promote wild pollinator populations is becoming increasingly common in agricultural lands. Yet, little is known about how wild bees, globally the most important wild pollinators, use resources in restored habitats. We compared bee use of native and exotic plants in two types of restored native plant hedgerows: mature hedgerows (>10 years from establishment) designed for natural enemy enhancement and new hedgerows (years from establishment) designed to enhance bee populations. Bees were collected from flowers using timed aerial netting and flowering plant cover was estimated by species using cover classes. At mature hedgerow sites, wild bee abundance, richness, and diversity were greater on native plants than exotic plants. At new sites, where native plants were small and had limited floral display, abundance of bees was greater on native plants than exotic plants; but, controlling for floral cover, there was no difference in bee diversity and richness between the two plant types. At both mature and new hedgerows, wild bees preferred to forage from native plants than exotic plants. Honey bees, which were from managed colonies, also preferred native plants at mature hedgerow sites but exhibited no preference at new sites. Our study shows that wild bees, and managed bees in some cases, prefer to forage on native plants in hedgerows over co-occurring weedy, exotic plants. Semi-quantitative ranking identified which native plants were most preferred. Hedgerow restoration with native plants may help enhance wild bee abundance and diversity, and maintain honey bee health, in agricultural areas.

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Morandin, L. A. and C. Kremen (2013). "Bee preference for native versus exotic plants in restored agricultural hedgerows." Restoration Ecology 21(1): 26-32.
         Habitat restoration to promote wild pollinator populations is becoming increasingly common in agricultural lands. Yet, little is known about how wild bees, globally the most important wild pollinators, use resources in restored habitats. We compared bee use of native and exotic plants in two types of restored native plant hedgerows: mature hedgerows (>10 years from establishment) designed for natural enemy enhancement and new hedgerows (years from establishment) designed to enhance bee populations. Bees were collected from flowers using timed aerial netting and flowering plant cover was estimated by species using cover classes. At mature hedgerow sites, wild bee abundance, richness, and diversity were greater on native plants than exotic plants. At new sites, where native plants were small and had limited floral display, abundance of bees was greater on native plants than exotic plants; but, controlling for floral cover, there was no difference in bee diversity and richness between the two plant types. At both mature and new hedgerows, wild bees preferred to forage from native plants than exotic plants. Honey bees, which were from managed colonies, also preferred native plants at mature hedgerow sites but exhibited no preference at new sites. Our study shows that wild bees, and managed bees in some cases, prefer to forage on native plants in hedgerows over co-occurring weedy, exotic plants. Semi-quantitative ranking identified which native plants were most preferred. Hedgerow restoration with native plants may help enhance wild bee abundance and diversity, and maintain honey bee health, in agricultural areas.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Greetings Region 5 bee samplers!

For your reading pleasure, you can access the final report summarizing and analyzing results of the 2008 Region 5 bee study here. Thank you so much for your participation!

The most important findings of this study were:
(1) confirmation that bee samples from multiple fields on the same refuge unit were more similar than those sampled from different units, which means we can treat samples from multiple sites on a refuge unit as statistical samples. This is very important for facilitating comparisons of bee populations and communities through space and time.
(2) Our volunteer-based approach works! Volunteers are willing and able to do an excellent job collecting and returning bees, along with all necessary sampling data, and we are able to process samples efficiently back in the lab.

All this is very encouraging as we continue to work on developing realistic visions for long-term survey and monitoring programs.

If any of you would like us to send you some examples of identified bees from your refuge, please let us know as soon as possible since we will otherwise soon be distributing these specimens to museum or other collections.

Again, thank you for your participation and please do not hesitate to e-mail us with any questions or comments you may have (sdroege@usgs.gov, leoshapiro99@gmail.com).

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Summary of 2008 Region 5 Refuge Bee Sampling

For your browsing pleasure, here is the first in a couple of summary posts on the bees collected for the 2008 Region 5 Refuge pilot bee survey. We will send an additional post on the community analyses in which we will examine the relationship of fields within each refuge to those of other refuges.

You can peruse the summary tables of data here.

You all generated quite a nice list considering the rather modest amount of sampling that went into the project. There were at least 79 species found across 1753 individuals collected. To put this into perspective: In all of Region 5 there are probably around 600 species. However, many of those are spring species and would not be expected in a fall survey. For example, in this fall collection there is only 1 Andrena species and there are no Nomada or Osmia species at all...all genera that are abundant and represented by many species in the spring.

As another comparison, a survey was recently carried out at a location along a powerline near the Chestnut Land Trust in Maryland near the Chesapeake Bay. A group of USDA researchers put out 200 bowls and tended them for an entire month in May, generating about 80 species and 8600 individuals in just that one spot. There are, in general, many bees out there and much to be learned.

Another realization here is that, again despite only a small effort, a number of new state records were generated. This is another sign that much remains to be accomplished in our understanding of even the most basic information about our bee diversity--a state's list of species present. Note that most of those new records came from coastal dune sites. For bees, and likely for other groups of insects too, coastal dunes and, in general, deep sand sites are places of endemism. Thus coastal refuges and sandhill habitats harbor a high proportion of the region's rare bees. We are learning that it's not just Piping Plover, Beach Heather, and scattered Tiger Beetles that are restricted to these habitats, but many other species as well. It would be interesting to compare dune and deep sand habitats to other regional habitats and calculate the number of endemics in each...the sandy habitats are likely to be unmatched. By extension, the many coastal refuge units also become major players in retaining regional biodiversity. By further extension, these same sites are among the most likely to suffer extirpations if sea level rise were to occur quickly. Does knowing that change the management strategies of the Service?

Thanks again for your participation and please do not hesitate to e-mail us with any questions, requests, suggestions, etc. (Leo: lshapiro@umd.edu, Sam: sdroege@usgs.gov)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Erie National Wildlife Refuge

This is a summary of bee data from 5 sampling locations from Erie National Wildlife Refuge collected in August 2008. Each field was sampled with 5 fluorescent yellow, 5 fluorescent blue, and 5 white 3.25 ounce bowl traps.

A complete table of the data is available from Leo Shapiro (lshapiro@umd.edu), Sam Droege (sdroege@usgs.gov), or the refuge biologist.

Below is a table of the site numbers and a brief site description followed by a table of results.


Description Site
ERIENWR Field 1 (Trial Run) ;Sugar Lake Division 5601
ERIENWR Field 2 (Site 1);Office driveway;Sugar Lake Division 5602
ERIENWR Field 3 (Site 2);Pools C D Dike;Sugar Lake Division 5603
ERIENWR Field 4 (Site 3);Service Rd near Pool C;Sugar Lake Division 5604
ERIENWR Field 5 (Site 4);Service Rd near Pool D;Sugar Lake Division 5605

Site Locations

Results

name 5601 5602 5603 5604 5605 Grand Total
Agapostemon virescens 1 1 2
Apis mellifera 2



2
Augochlorella aurata

4
4
Bombus fervidus
1
2 3
Bombus vagans 1
2
3
Calliopsis andreniformis 1



1
Ceratina dupla
1

1
Coelioxys sayi 1



1
Halictus confusus

1 2 3
Hoplitis spoliata

1
1
Hylaeus affinis/modestus
3 2 3 8
Lasioglossum albipenne

1
1
Lasioglossum leucozonium 11

1
12
Lasioglossum planatum 1 1
1 1 4
Lasioglossum rohweri 2
1 5 7 15
Lasioglossum species
1

1
Lasioglossum tegulare 1



1
Lasioglossum viridatum group 1


1
Megachile brevis


1 1
Melissodes druriella 2



2
Peponapis pruinosa 1



1
Grand Total 22 3 8 18 17 68


Note that field 5601 was a trial run and not part of the collection of the other 4 fields. Interestingly, this field has a bit of a different bee fauna than the cluster of sites for the main study, having a couple of the Eucerine species (P. pruinosa, and M. druriella) that did not show up in the other fields as well as 5 additional species that either did not show up at all in the other surveys or were at much lower numbers. So, your neighborhood appears to count when you are a bee.

Overall, a not unexpected group of bees from northwestern Pennslyvania. The one exceptional species is L. albipenne which is an uncommon and rarely seen sweat bee. Not much is know about it other than it seems to show up here and there. Numbers of bees are rather low compared to some of the other refuges, but, as always, there are always bees present.

Sam and Leo

To make a prairie it takes a clover

and one bee,--

One clover, and a bee,

And revery.

The revery alone will do

If bees are few.

- Emily Dickinson

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Patuxent Wildlife Research Refuge

This is a summary of bee data from 5 sampling locations from Patuxent Wildlife Research Refuge collected in August 2008. Each field was sampled with 5 fluorescent yellow, 5 fluorescent blue, and 5 white 3.25 ounce bowl traps.

A complete table of the data is available from Leo Shapiro (lshapiro@umd.edu), Sam Droege (sdroege@usgs.gov), or the refuge biologist.

Below is a table of the site numbers and a brief site description followed by a table of results.


Site Description
5620 PWRC Site 1: South Tract, by Hardy Spring Pond
5621 PWRC Site 2: Central Tract, right side of Cedar Lane by power lines
5622 PWRC Site 3: North Tract, by Telegraph Road
5623 PWRC Site 4: North Tract, Right side by Scout Site 1
5624 PWRC Site 5: North Tract, Wildlife loop by storage sheds

Site Locations






Results
name 5624 5621 5620 5622 5623 Grand Total
Agapostemon texanus 1



1
Agapostemon virescens
7
1
8
Augochlorella aurata 2 3
1 3 9
Ceratina calcarata


3
3
Ceratina dupla


2
2
Halictus ligatus/poeyi 6

3 2 11
Lassioglossum bruneri 1



1
Lassioglossum coreopsis 2

2 1 5
Lassioglossum nelumbonis

1

1
Lassioglossum pilosum



1 1
Lassioglossum tegulare


2 1 3
Lassioglossum versatum


13
13
Megachile brevis 1


1 2
Megachile mendica


1
1
Melissodes desponsa



2 2
Peponapis pruinosa



1 1
Calliopsis andreniformis


2
2
Grand Total 13 10 1 30 12 66


This list of species is largely an expected one for an interior Maryland upland set of fields. The Lasioglossum nelumbonis is an uncommonly encountered species and is thought to be associated with water lilies. Since this particular site is located next to a pond containing water lilies this would be in keeping. It does seem odd that this site only had this one species present, and one specimen at that, but it may be a reflection of its isolation from other fields, being surrounded by extensive woodlands. The remaining species are all regionally occurring species and together the 18 species makes for a reasonable species total. Overall a solid list, but nothing in particular stands out about this list of bees.

Because we have sampled at Patuxent for so many years, we have accumulated a long list of species as well as a number of state records and rare species. Such species are not found in the surrounding suburban communities, where we have also been sampling. So it is interesting to see that doing 5 fields for one day on the refuge, while demonstrating that bees are present and the list substantial, we found only a fraction of all the species we know to be present and none of the very rare ones. A more complete and extensive survey would be needed to do that.


Lasioglossum nelumbonis - Photo by John Pascarella


Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge - Headquarters

This is a summary of bee data from 4 sampling locations from Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge collected in early August 2008. Each field was sampled with 5 fluorescent yellow, 5 fluorescent blue, and 5 white 3.25 ounce bowl traps.

A complete table of the data is available from Leo Shapiro (lshapiro@umd.edu), Sam Droege (sdroege@usgs.gov), or the refuge biologist.

Below is a table of the site numbers and a brief site description followed by a table of results.


Description Number

ESVA Site 4 (Visitor Center) 5549
ESVA Site 1 (Maintenance) 5546
ESVA Site 2 (Housing) 5547
ESVA Site 3 (Seaside Rd) 5548


Results

name 5549 5546 5547 5548 Grand Total
Agapostemon virescens 32 2 7 14 55
Augochlorella aurata 96 5 12 171 284
Ceratina calcarata 2 2 11 1 16
Ceratina dupla 15 6 35 6 62
Halictus ligatis/poeyi 4
8 14 26
Lassioglossum bruneri 1 1 2 1 5
Lassioglossum coreopsis
1 1 1 3
Lassioglossum near planatum 1


1
Lassioglossum oblongum
1

1
Lassioglossum pectorale


2 2
Lassioglossum tegulare 3
7 6 16
Lassioglossum versatum 6


6
Lassioglossum versatumsensumitchell 4
1
5
Grand Total 164 18 84 216 482

Sampling Locations


This set of bowl surveys were placed on the lawns surrounding the visitor center and headquarters complex. Interestingly, despite being on what one would suppose to be less than prime real estate as compared to natural fields, there are huge numbers of bees captured here--on average 8 bees per bowl trap! Despite the large numbers, however, the diversity is low for such a populous catch. These species are associated with disturbed and lawn habitats throughout the region. In our studies of the Memorial Grounds in the center of Washington D.C., for example, we get approximately the same list. Another possible factor may be time of year: in this case the survey was made in early August, while the other samples from the study were from late August and September.

With the exception of the Ceratina species all the species are members of the family Halictidae. These species are all generalists and seem especially adept at colonizing and using the small often weedy flower resources in areas cut regularly. The Lasioglossum versatum and the L. versatumsensumitchell are 2 very similar species that have been shown to differ genetically, but separating the two species visually is a bit tricky. We have a feeling that most of these may be L. versatumsensumitchell rather than L. versatum, but aren't quite sure. Augochlorella aurata is perhaps the most common bee in the region and found in almost all open habitats. The Halictus species are likely to be H. poeyi, but the separation of these species hasn't been resolved.

Interestingly, while each of the sites had about the same species list, the number of bees captured in each field varied quite at bit. Little study has gone into explaining such differences and thus there is plenty of room for further study of even the most basic of factors affecting bee distributions.


Augochlorella aurata - Photo by John Pascarella

Friday, February 20, 2009

Fisherman's Island National Wildlife Refuge

This is a summary of bee data from 4 sampling locations (sampled twice) from Fisherman's Island National Wildlife Refuge collected in September 2008. Each field was sampled with 5 fluorescent yellow, 5 fluorescent blue, and 5 white 3.25 ounce bowl traps, however, one field was sampled with white styrofoam bowls when the others were not available.

A complete table of the data is available from Leo Shapiro (lshapiro@umd.edu), Sam Droege (sdroege@usgs.gov), or the refuge biologist.

Below is a table of the site numbers and a brief site description followed by a table of results.

5575 FINWR Site Styr9
5576 FINWR Site Styr10
5578 FINWR Site Styr12
5579 FINWR Site NOTstyr9
5580 FINWR Site NONstyr10
5582 FINWR Site NONstyr12

Refuge Collection Sites





Species 5575 5576 5578 5579 5580 5582 Grand Total
Agapostemon splendens 1 1



2
Augochlora pura



1
1
Ceratina dupla

1

1 2
Perdita boltoniae


1
1 2
Perdita consobrina



1
1
Megachile brevis



1
1
Grand Total 1 1 1 1 3 2 9


Note first of all that the 4 sites were run 2 separate times due to a bowl problem with the first run. As you can see from the table the results were extremely sparse. Some sets of bowls had no bees whatsoever. However, the bees that were gotten were extremely interesting. Agapostemon splendens is a bee of deep sandy sites, often found in dune systems and therefore no surprise here (it occurs in abundance all along Assateague Island, for example). The Augochlora, Ceratina, and Megachile are common bees, found just about anywhere, but the Perdita are quite rare. Both species are new state records for Virginia and in general would be restricted to dry, deep sand sites. Perdita boltoniae appears to be particularly fond of Chrysopsis (golden aster) which would be likely to be found at such sites. Perdita consobrina is interesting in that this is the northernmost record for that species and it appeared somewhat intermediate between the P. consobrina specimens from the Sandhills NWR and P. swenki, which is found in dune systems in the North (such as Long Island). We will be sending that specimen off to get its little DNA checked.

The head of P. consobrina taken from Mitchell's Bees of the Eastern United States.



Sam and Leo

To see the world in a grain of sand
and heaven in a wildflower,
hold infinity in the palm of your hand
and eternity in an hour.

- William Blake

Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge

This is a summary of bee data from 4 fields from the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge collected in August 2008. Each field was sampled with 5 fluorescent yellow, 5 fluorescent blue, and 5 white 3.25 ounce bowl traps.

A complete table of the data is available from Leo Shapiro (lshapiro@umd.edu), Sam Droege (sdroege@usgs.gov), or the refuge biologist.

Below is a table of the site numbers and a brief site description followed by a table of results.

5583 RCNWR-Spurwink Div. Site 1
5584 RCNWR-Spurwink Div. Site 2
5585 RCNWR-Spurwink Div. Site 3
5586 RCNWR-Spurwink Div. Site 4


Refuge Site Locations


Table of results

Species 5583 5584 5585 5586 Grand Total
Augochlorella aurata 1

1 2
Bombus fervidus 1


1
Bombus fervidus/pensylvanicus
2

2
Bombus impatiens


3 3
Ceratina calcarata 2 1

3
Ceratina dupla 1


1
Halictus confusus

1 1 2
Hoplitis producta
1

1
Hylaeus affinis/modestus
1 3 1 5
Hylaeus mesillae 1


1
Lasioglossum coriaceum
1

1
Lasioglossum cressonii 1


1
Lasioglossum planatum


1 1
Lasioglossum quebecense
1

1
Lasioglossum rohweri 1

1 2
Megachile brevis 1


1
Melissodes desponsa


1 1
Melissodes druriella 1


1
Sphecodes sp. 1 4 1
6
Grand Total 11 11 5 9 36

While having one of the lowest total number of bees captured, this refuge's fields were quite species rich. Note that most species were detected with only 1 or 2 individuals, indicating that there are likely to be many more species on the refuge that were not detected. No particular species stands out; despite the northern latitude, all these species could be found in the southern part of the region. The relatively large number of the nest parasite Sphecodes is interesting. We have a difficult time determining species in this group but all appeared to be the same species and will be sent off to have their DNA squeezed.

Sam and Leo


To those who have not yet learned the secret of true happiness,

begin now to study the little things in your own door yard.

-George Washington Carver

Pictures of the surveyed fields

Field 1


Field 2








Field 3







Field 4


Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge

This is a summary of bee data from 8 fields from the Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge collected in August 2008. Each field was sampled with 5 fluorescent yellow, 5 fluorescent blue, and 5 white 3.25 ounce bowl traps.

A complete table of the data is available from Leo Shapiro (lshapiro@umd.edu), Sam Droege (sdroege@usgs.gov), or the refuge biologist.

Below is a table of the site numbers and a brief site description followed by a table of results.


Number Site
5612 ORINWR Site 1;Middle Island, St. Mary's, WV;Collectors' Garmin code NBSF1, NBSF15
5613 ORINWR Site 2;Middle Island, St. Mary's, WV;Collectors' Garmin code NBSF2, NBSF215
5614 ORINWR Site 3;Middle Island, St. Mary's, WV;Collectors' Garmin code NBSF3, NBSF315
5615 ORINWR Site 4;Middle Island, St. Mary's, WV;Collectors' Garmin code NBSF415, NBSF4
5616 ORINWR Site 5;Buckley Mainland, Williamstown, WV;Collectors' Garmin code NBSF5
5617 ORINWR Site 6;Buckley Mainland, Williamstown, WV;Collectors' Garmin code NBSF6
5618 ORINWR Site 7;Buckley Mainland, Williamstown, WV;Collectors' Garmin code NBSF7
5619 ORINWR Site 8;Buckley Mainland, Williamstown, WV;Collectors' Garmin code NBSF8


Site Locations on Middle Island


Locations on the mainland



Table of the results by species

Species 5612 5613 5614 5615 5616 5617 5618 5619 Grand Total
Agapostemon virescens




1

1
Apis mellifera

1
1


2
Augochlora pura




1
1 2
Bombus impatiens 2 2
1

1
6
Calliopsis andreniformis




3

3
Ceratina calcarata
4 3 1 6 1 1
16
Ceratina dupla 3 3 5 2



13
Ceratina sp.



1


1
Ceratina strenua 1


6 3
3 13
Halictus confusus

1
1
1
3
Halictus ligatus





1
1
Hylaeus affinus/modestus 1

1 1 1
1 5
Lasioglossum coriaceum



2


2
Lasioglossum fattigi/apocyni




1 1
2
Lasioglossum imitatum




4 2
6
Lasioglossum rohweri 1 1 20 10
4 2 1 39
Lasioglossum viridatum group 14 16 44 41 11 11 4 1 142
Megachile mendica




1

1
Melissodes bimaculata



1 2
1 4
Peponapis pruinosa



1 2

3
Grand Total 22 26 74 56 31 35 13 8 265


Quite a good number of bees in these traps, averaging over 2 bees per bowl. There is some interesting variation in the totals per field, spanning from 8 to 74. You can see that there is a shift between the two main localities with the numbers for Ceratina dupla, Lasioglossum rohweri, Lasioglossum viridatum being more common on the Island and several species showing up only on the mainland. It will be interesting to look at some of the community analyses here. Species-wise, the L. viridatum group is likely to be only one species, but there is a problem telling species apart within this group so at this point we cannot put a single name on things that look like these species. The L. fattigi/apocyni specimens are similar, but we aren't sure if there are really 1 or 2 of these uncommon species, likely we will send these off to get DNAed. Other than the aforementioned L. fattigi/apocyni specimens, this is a very straightforward interior East group of bees; all are common and would be expected in good numbers in almost any survey.

Sam and Leo

from Jayber Crow

No matter how much it may be used by towing companies ... and the like, the
river doesn't belong to the workaday world. ... Nothing keeps to its own way
more than the river does.
Another thing: No matter how corrupt and trashy it necessarily must be at
times in this modern world, the river is never apart from beauty. Partly, I
suppose, this is because it always keeps to its way.
Sometimes, living right beside it, I forget it. Going about my various
tasks, I don't think about it. And then it seems just to flow back into my
mind. I stop and look at it. I think of its parallel, never-meeting banks,
which never yet part. I think of it lying there in its long hollow, at the
foot of all the landscape, a single opening from its springs in the mountains
all the way to its mouth. It is a beautiful thought, one of the most
beautiful of all thoughts. I think it not in my brain only but in my heart
and in all the lengths of my bones.

- Wendell Berry

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With Natural History there is no need to go to the moon or Madagascar; there is more to find in your woodlot than in our entire solar system.