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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fargo, North Dakota » Edward T. Schafer Agricultural Research Center » Insect Genetics and Biochemistry Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #365801

Research Project: Cryopreservation of Bee Germplasm Research

Location: Insect Genetics and Biochemistry Research

Title: Are urban pollinator plantings the bee’s knees in Fargo, ND? [abstract]

item PARK, MIA - North Dakota State University
item OLIVERAS, VINCENT - University Of Idaho
item Rinehart, Joseph - Joe
item BOWSHER, JULIA - North Dakota State University
item GREENLEE, KENDRA - North Dakota State University

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/11/2019
Publication Date: 7/18/2019
Citation: Park, M.G., Oliveras, V.A., Rinehart, J.P., Bowsher, J.H., Greenlee, K.J. 2019. Are urban pollinator plantings the bee’s knees in Fargo, ND? [abstract]. 2019 International Pollinator Conference, July 17-20, 2019, Davis, CA. p. 33.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Most flowering plants, including a third of our crops, rely on animal pollination, notably insects. In the United States, both commercial and native pollinators are in decline and habitat loss is a primary driver. Inadequate food and nesting resources reduces population growth and exacerbates a myriad of other stressors. Pollinator habitat enhancements have become a popular pollinator conservation tool, designed to provide a safe, diverse and abundant forb community to sustain pollinators throughout their active season. While wild pollinator communities and managed honey bees have been shown to respond positively to habitat enhancements in agricultural landscapes, few studies have examined whether such benefits are realized in urban settings and whether these benefits extend to other managed pollinators. This study partners with the Audubon Society to investigate whether recent (1-4 yr old) pollinator plantings established in urban parks measurably benefit both wild and managed pollinators. In 2018, we surveyed a total of 8 sites (4 control and 4 enhanced with plantings) along the Red River in Fargo, ND and Moorhead, MN. Floral resources, wild pollinator visitation, and nesting success of the commercial alfalfa leafcutting bee (Megachile rotundata) were monitored through the growing season. Both wild pollinator community structure and M. rotundata nest performance increased with floral abundance but not diversity. Contrary to predictions, pollinator enhancement efforts did not improve availability of floral resources, nor did they measurably increase pollinator abundance, diversity or reproduction. Flowering weedy species were commonly observed at control sites and pollinator plantings did not always establish well due to competitive grass species. Our preliminary results suggest that active land management is needed in our study system to ensure pollinator plantings realize intended benefits for pollinators. Finally, because flowering weeds presented a major food source for pollinators in urban parks, conservation efforts may need to consider potential trade-offs of weed control programs.