SUSTAINING WILD BEE POPULATIONS FOR POLLINATION SERVICES
Pollinating Insects-- Biology, Management and Systematics Research
2012 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
The objective of this cooperative research is to determine the diversity of wild bees in the Western U.S. and evaluate factors important to their preservation.
1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Wild bees will be studied in the Western U.S., especially the Great Basin and adjoining regions, sampling in and out of past wildfires on wildflower species targeted for use in restoration seeding projects. All bees will be identified for calculating their abundance and diversity. Geographical information systems will be used to evaluate bee populations as they are distributed in time and space. For bumble bees, historical records and DNA analysis will be used to evaluate whether populations are expanding or contracting in range, and whether any species are under threat of extinction. Their mortality factors, such as diseases and parasites, will also be evaluated.
ARS and Utah State University researchers produced a new publication, the Guide to the Bumble Bees of the Western United States. The cooperator also added over 4000 bumble bee specimen records to the ARS National Pollinating Insect Database by digitizing data housed at other institutions. This additional data filled a gap in the records maintained by USDA and was a critical step in furthering our understanding of bumble bee distributions in the United States. Using the database, the cooperator generated thirty publication-quality maps and lists of plant species visited by bumble bees, for inclusion in the guide. In addition to the contributions to the guide, additional maps were generated using geographic information system (GIS) software for peer reviewed publications and research planning.