Presentation Title

Surveys of bees at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie with special focus on the possible presence of a rusty patched bumble bee populations

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Derek Rosenberger

Project Type

Other

Scholarship Domain(s)

Scholarship of Discovery

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

Native bees are one of the most diverse and important groups of pollinators in many ecosystems. However, pollinators are declining around the world and bumble bees (Bombus sp.) have been significantly affected. Prairie grasslands like those at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie (Wilmington, IL) are likely prime locations for many species of bees due to rich and consistent floral resources. An important example is the rusty patched bumble bee, B. affinis, which was found at Midewin in 2018. B. affinis is federally listed as a critically endangered species that has experienced a 90% range reduction since 2000. This study is meant to continue to assess the populations of B. affinis and other bumble bee species at Midewin. We further initiated a census of other native wild bee populations to obtain information on general bee diversity, the first to our knowledge conducted at Midewin. In late June into mid-August of 2020, we completed a total of 92 surveys with 6 surveys conducted at 12 established 100m transects spread evenly across the site and 20 additional surveys at random locations with optimal foraging resources. We captured 320 bumble bees, comprising 7 separate species, yet B. affinis was not captured during our surveys. However, a population of B. affinis workers were found 7.5 miles north of Midewin by others and verified and monitored by our team, establishing its presence in the region and the potential for recolonization of suitable habitat at Midewin from nearby colonies. Three other bumble bee species of conservation concern were found for the 3rd year in a row (B. fervidus, B. auricomus and B. pensylvanicus). Our census of other native wild bees resulted in 16 species, bringing the total census of identified bee species at Midewin to 25. Melissodes bimaculatus was the most abundant non-bumble bee species captured in pan traps. Our work this summer builds on our previous work and continues to indicate that Midewin serves as an important reserve for bee conservation in the region.

Permission type

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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Surveys of bees at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie with special focus on the possible presence of a rusty patched bumble bee populations

Other

Native bees are one of the most diverse and important groups of pollinators in many ecosystems. However, pollinators are declining around the world and bumble bees (Bombus sp.) have been significantly affected. Prairie grasslands like those at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie (Wilmington, IL) are likely prime locations for many species of bees due to rich and consistent floral resources. An important example is the rusty patched bumble bee, B. affinis, which was found at Midewin in 2018. B. affinis is federally listed as a critically endangered species that has experienced a 90% range reduction since 2000. This study is meant to continue to assess the populations of B. affinis and other bumble bee species at Midewin. We further initiated a census of other native wild bee populations to obtain information on general bee diversity, the first to our knowledge conducted at Midewin. In late June into mid-August of 2020, we completed a total of 92 surveys with 6 surveys conducted at 12 established 100m transects spread evenly across the site and 20 additional surveys at random locations with optimal foraging resources. We captured 320 bumble bees, comprising 7 separate species, yet B. affinis was not captured during our surveys. However, a population of B. affinis workers were found 7.5 miles north of Midewin by others and verified and monitored by our team, establishing its presence in the region and the potential for recolonization of suitable habitat at Midewin from nearby colonies. Three other bumble bee species of conservation concern were found for the 3rd year in a row (B. fervidus, B. auricomus and B. pensylvanicus). Our census of other native wild bees resulted in 16 species, bringing the total census of identified bee species at Midewin to 25. Melissodes bimaculatus was the most abundant non-bumble bee species captured in pan traps. Our work this summer builds on our previous work and continues to indicate that Midewin serves as an important reserve for bee conservation in the region.