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Old 04-13-2018, 03:49 PM   #1
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bumblebee Honey Bees versus Native Bees

The "Save the Pollinators" effort has gained a lot of attention in the last couple of years. Unfortunately the public's perception of pollinators is the honey bee.

Beekeepers have suffered a higher rate of losses in recent years, but the number of honey bees hasn't actually declined. Beekeepers have simply increased the rate of honey bee colony production, albeit at a higher cost.

Native bees on the other hand have suffered some significant declines. One bumble bee for example (the rusty patched) has declined so much that it has been placed on the endangered species list.

In a nutshell, the Save the Pollinators effort has been mostly focused on saving the wrong bees.

Scientists have been aware of this situation for some time. Some recent studies have focused on this problem and come up with some interesting results.

One recent study came up with an interesting way to measure the negative impact that honey bees are having on native bees:
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/conl.12263
Quote:
Experimental demonstration of direct exploitative competition between foraging honey bees and native bees in wildlands has proven elusive, due to problems of experimental design, scale, and context‐dependence. We propose a different approach that translates floral resources collected by a honey bee colony into progeny equivalents of an average solitary bee. Such a metric is needed by public land managers confronting migratory beekeeper demands for insecticide‐free, convenient, resource‐rich habitats for summering. We calculate that, from JuneľAugust, a strong colony gathers as much pollen as could produce 100,000 progeny of an average solitary bee. Analogous to the animal unit month (AUM) for livestock, a hive unit month (HUM) is therefore 33,000 native bee progeny. By this calculation, a 40‐hive apiary residing on wildlands for 3 months collects the pollen equivalent of four million wild bees. We introduce a rapid assessment metric to gauge stocking of honey bees, and briefly highlight alternative strategies to provide quality pasture for honey bees with minimal impact on native bees.
Another recent study did a survey of past research to see to what extent honey bees harm native bees:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5722319/#
Quote:
Managed bees are critical for crop pollination worldwide. As the demand for pollinator-dependent crops increases, so does the use of managed bees. Concern has arisen that managed bees may have unintended negative impacts on native wild bees, which are important pollinators in both agricultural and natural ecosystems. The goal of this study was to synthesize the literature documenting the effects of managed honey bees and bumble bees on wild bees in three areas: (1) competition for floral and nesting resources, (2) indirect effects via changes in plant communities, including the spread of exotic plants and decline of native plants, and (3) transmission of pathogens. The majority of reviewed studies reported negative effects of managed bees, but trends differed across topical areas. Of studies examining competition, results were highly variable with 53% reporting negative effects on wild bees, while 28% reported no effects and 19% reported mixed effects (varying with the bee species or variables examined). Equal numbers of studies examining plant communities reported positive (36%) and negative (36%) effects, with the remainder reporting no or mixed effects. Finally, the majority of studies on pathogen transmission (70%) reported potential negative effects of managed bees on wild bees. ...
Honey bees are a commercial agricultural livestock, much like raising chickens, hogs, etc. They are very important in some agricultural operations like pollinating the large monocultures of almond trees in California. But when they are done pollinating the almonds serious thought needs to be given to where they are going to go for their floral resources for the remainder of the year. Placing them at locations where they will use up the floral resources (pollen and nectar) of native bees is going to harm native bee populations.
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Old 04-15-2018, 08:12 PM   #2
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This is the outfit I've been working with even though "working" is a tad misleading since I did zip last year. Have an idea in the pipeline but have yet to test it.

Bumble Boosters Project | Pollinator Education and Conservation
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Old 05-22-2018, 03:05 PM   #3
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Lots of ideas there on bumble bee nests, but no clear winner yet. I've tried several variations over the past couple of years, but no takers yet. The queens are out looking for nest sites now in my area, I'm hoping that this years version will get used.


The WI Dept. of Natural Resources is starting a bumble bee monitoring project this year. I've signed up to participate in their program which will get started in June. I'm looking forward to bumble hunting road trips.
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Old 05-24-2018, 01:55 PM   #4
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Give us a heads up on what a bumble bee monitor does.
I saw a couple of bumble bees out on my way thru the woods on my daily mail run today.
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Old 05-25-2018, 01:59 PM   #5
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We haven't had our training session yet, so I'm not sure what is all involved. It's a new program that is just getting started this year.


Here's a link to the new website for the Bumble Bee Brigade program:
Wisconsin Bumble Bee Brigade
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Old 06-16-2018, 02:23 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weedy feilds View Post
Give us a heads up on what a bumble bee monitor does.
I saw a couple of bumble bees out on my way thru the woods on my daily mail run today.
We had our training session about 2 weeks ago. The purpose of the program is to better document the range and population of the 20 species of Bombus that are present in Wisconsin.

Photos will be the only means of ID'ing the bumble bees; no capturing or handling of bumble bees. Date, location, etc., are recorded on a data sheet and matched up with the photo for recording purposes. The photo(s) and recorded info are then entered on the BBB website.

There are 2 types of data entry: an incidental survey and a small area survey. The incidental survey covers the situation where you just spot a bumble bee, get some photos and site info and then go back to whatever you were doing before you saw the bumble bee.

The small area survey is a more deliberate effort to gather info and photos using a standard protocol. You count all the bumble bees in a 30 meter circumference circle, photograph as many as possible, record the date and location, and survey duration.

There is no requirement for any specific number of surveys. You survey whenever and wherever you want, and do as many or as few as you like.

So far I have been able to document 4 species in my yard.


Yellow Bumble Bee
(Bombus fervidus)

Honey Bees versus Native Bees-p1080859_crop.jpg


Tri-colored Bumble Bee
(Bombus ternarius)

Honey Bees versus Native Bees-p1080497_crop.jpg


Brown-belted Bumble Bee
(Bombus griseocollis)

Honey Bees versus Native Bees-p1080106_crop.jpg


Half-black Bumble Bee
(Bombus vagans)

Honey Bees versus Native Bees-p1080555_crop.jpg


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Old 06-18-2018, 12:00 PM   #7
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Knowing from experience how difficult it can be to get good identifying shots of these bees, ;I applaud your success. Thanks for keeping us abreast of this project. Some years ago, here at WG we had an organized search going for a few of the more endangered species, you might recall. It was fun for me that summer, but frustrating attempting to get the solid identifying photo of what I had seen...

I've noticed that so far this season there have been no honey bees in my yard, at least that I've seen, and while the bumble bee population is low, it is present...
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Old 06-18-2018, 02:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jack View Post
Knowing from experience how difficult it can be to get good identifying shots of these bees, ;I applaud your success. ...
Thanks for the applause Jack, but what you don't see is the 100 or more shots that didn't make the cut for identification purposes . Thank heaven for digital cameras!

My technique now is to get the first shot in focus and then take as many shots as I can as fast as I can. Always in hope of getting that magic identification trio - head shot, dorsal shot and side shot.
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Old 06-24-2018, 07:20 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NEWisc View Post
Thanks for the applause Jack, but what you don't see is the 100 or more shots that didn't make the cut for identification purposes . Thank heaven for digital cameras!

My technique now is to get the first shot in focus and then take as many shots as I can as fast as I can. Always in hope of getting that magic identification trio - head shot, dorsal shot and side shot.
Unfortunately, I'm not up on which varieties are rare or endangered and which are not. Of the four you posted, are any rare or endangered??
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Old 07-01-2018, 02:05 PM   #10
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If you want good pics, the refrigerator is your friend.

I use this gizmo in my house to capture parasitoid wasps that dined on my cocoons and then escaped into my moth room.

https://www.amazon.com/Backyard-Safa.../dp/B000YJMHLC

Insects are sucked into the capture "jar" - manufacturer refers to it as a "capture core." Flip the internal lid. Remove "jar" and put in the fridge. Let the bee cool off for a couple hours and then get some closeups. How quickly the bee warms up varies by species. I'll put them back in fridge if bee is ready to go and I still don't have pic I want.

Suction with this thing is not wonderful. Even on "High," I often have to give a good blow into the open end to help along a reluctant customer.
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