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Common Bees in Michigan Julianna Tuell, Rufus Isaacs Anna Fiedler, Doug Landis Department of Entomology, Michigan State University.

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Presentation on theme: "Common Bees in Michigan Julianna Tuell, Rufus Isaacs Anna Fiedler, Doug Landis Department of Entomology, Michigan State University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Common Bees in Michigan Julianna Tuell, Rufus Isaacs Anna Fiedler, Doug Landis Department of Entomology, Michigan State University

2 Why Are Bees Important? Pollination in natural habitats –80% of flowering plants require insects to transfer pollen in order to produce seeds. –Many insect-pollinated plants provide food for wildlife (e.g. berries).

3 Why Are Bees Important? Pollination of 87 leading food and fiber crops

4 honey bees bumble bees carpenter bees mason and leafcutter bees sweat bees digger bees Major Bee Groups in the Eastern US honey bee carpenter bee bumble bee leafcutter bee sweat bee digger bee

5 Native to Europe. First used for honey and wax production. Now most important bee in crop pollination because they are readily managed. Feral colonies have been decimated by diseases and mites. Commercial beekeepers also have a difficult time with diseases and mites. Not the most efficient pollinator of every crop. Can be inhibited by cooler weather. Fortunately, many other kinds of bees can help pollinate crops. Honey bees (Apidae) Apis mellifera

6 Bumble bees (Apidae) Medium (workers and drones) to large (queens) yellow or white and black. A single queen produces a colony of workers. Nest in abandoned rodent burrows or other cavities in the ground. Commercially produced colonies now available. Feed on many different flowers. Bombus spp.

7 Carpenter bees (Apidae) Two distinct types: –large (often mistaken for bumble bee queens). –Small (metallic blue). Most females are solitary, building and provisioning their own nests (no workers are produced). Nest in wood or pithy stems. Feed on many different flowers. Xylocopa virginiana Ceratina sp. Photo: J. Evans

8 Mason bees (Megachilidae) Small to medium, bluish metallic or black with white hair on thorax, with dense abdominal hairs for carrying pollen. Solitary, but often nesting in aggregations. In nature, nesting in galleries made by beetles in wood or pithy stems; will readily nest in man- made straws. Separate and cap off nest cells with mud. Osmia lignaria Orchard Mason Bee Photo: S. Bambara

9 Leafcutter bees (Megachilidae) Medium, black, often with a striped abdomen on which they collect pollen. Solitary, nesting in aggregations. Nest in galleries made by beetles in wood or pithy stems; will readily nest in man-made straws. Cut leaf sections from soft- leafed plants to make nests. Megachile spp. leaf capsule in hollowed twig

10 Digger bees (Andrenidae and Apidae) Small to large bees with very hairy hind legs. Solitary, nest in soil. Usually one generation produced per season. May visit many different flowers, or will collect pollen from only a few related plant species. Andrena spp.

11 Sweat bees (Halictidae) Three size/color groups: –Medium-sized, brown, with or without stripes –Small to medium, metallic green –Small bronze/golden metallic Solitary and social species. Some produce several generations per season. Most nest in soil; some in soft wood. Visit many different flowers. Halictus sp. Lasioglossum sp. Agapostemon spp.

12 What do native bees need? flowers for nectar and pollen nesting habitat pesticide-free environment

13 Flowering Resources nectar, floral oils pollen

14 Nesting Resources nest made in burrownest made in sloping soilnest entrance in soil holes in a tree that could be used by bees nesting box constructed for cavity nesting bees

15 Access to Clean Water ponds bird baths ditches

16 Bee-friendly Practices Provide floral resources. Provide nesting resources. Provide clean water source. Reduce insecticide use. Use bee-safe insecticides if pest control is necessary. Minimize use of herbicides.

17 Acknowledgements Funding sources: For more information visit:


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