A Citizen Science Project Exploring Bee Biodiversity in Northern Colorado
Native Bee Watch Newsletter #11
Welcome to the Native Bee Watch Newsletter! This newsletter provides the current buzz on bee monitoring, tips for best practice observing, and other fun, educational resources. Enjoy! 
Happy Valentine's Day from
Native Bee Watch!
The Tale of the Yucca Plant and Yucca Moth

The yucca moth (Tegeticula spp.) and the yucca plant (Yucca spp.) cannot survive without the other. This symbiotic relationship has coevolved over millions of years.  

Yucca moths nest underground near yucca plants. They stay in cocoons for up to three years. The moths emerge from their cocoons at the same time the yucca plant blooms. 

In addition, the female moth will intentionally collect pollen from one yucca plant and place it on the stigma of another yucca plant. (The stigma  is the female part of a flower that collects the pollen to develop into fruit or seeds.) Most insects will not intentionally pollinate; the pollen sticks to their bodies and transfers to the next plant. 

After pollinating the yucca plant, the female moth will lay an egg in the ovary of the yucca flower. The egg hatches and the larvae feed on the growing seeds. They don't consume all the seeds so that the plant will still have seeds to reproduce. The female moth also releases a pheromone so that other moths know that this yucca is taken and can't hold more eggs. 

We thought a symbiotic pollinator relationship was the perfect highlight for our February newsletter!


Book Review: 100 Plants to Feed the Bees

The Xerces Society published a new book in December called 100 Plants to Feed the Bees . For each of the 100 plants, the book covers the plant's native range, growing requirements, plant uses and notable flower visitors. It is an easy-to-use field guide for a beginner researching plants to attract pollinators. Each plant has icons for the common pollinators, which can include honey bees, native bees, hummingbirds, butterflies, and moths. The range covers the United States and Canada, so not all of the plants in the book are native to Colorado. This book is a great resource for assembling pollinator plant ideas. 
Buzzing Information on Bees 
This Drone Can Do the Work of Honeybees
Researchers in Japan have developed a drone to pollinate flowers. They used horse hair to mimic hairs on bee bodies. The horse hair in combination of a gel adhesive was attached to a drone to pollinate. 

Dead Bees Washing Up on Naples Beach
Last week, bees started washing up on the beach. Scientists are unsure why. 
A green metallic sweat bee (Agapostemon sp.) on a purple coneflower at the Gardens at Spring Creek, July 2016.  Photo: Lisa Mason
Native Bee Watch: A Citizen Science Project Exploring Bee Biodiversity in Northern Colorado

Website: nativebeewatch.wordpress.com     Contact: Lisa Mason at Lisa.Mason@ColoState.edu