A Citizen Science Project Exploring Bee Biodiversity in Northern Colorado
Native Bee Watch Newsletter #23
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! 
Protecting Pollinators in Urban Landscapes

This month I attended the Protecting Pollinators in Urban Landscapes conference in Traverse City, Michigan. This conference had sessions on research, management, outreach and advocacy on pollinators, especially native bees. I wanted to share some of the major take home messages that really stood out to me.

  • We still need to increase conservation efforts for native bees and not only the honey bee.  
  • To protect bee diversity, we need to think about human diversity. Bee conservation needs to be inclusive and we need to get our messages out to people from all walks of life.
  • Clean-cut, green-grass backyard lawns are like concrete for bees. We can create pollinator habitat and still have an aesthetically pleasing backyards. How do we get this message out?
  • Everyone can make a difference in pollinator conservation! Even the smallest pollinator-friendly garden will help provide food, shelter and water for individual bees and other pollinators.  

I presented a poster at the at the conference on the Native Bee Watch research project. I thoroughly enjoy talking about the research and the efforts of the citizen scientists that help make this project succeed! It was well-received and I talked to people that are curious about getting citizen scientists involved in their projects.

Thank you to all the citizen scientists involved in this project and for all of you being stewards for pollinators!
Why You Shouldn't Rake the Leaves

Did you know that pollinators and other invertebrates rely on leaf material for winter cover?

Queen bumble bees in the soil and rely on leaves as an extra layer of protection. Many butterfly species make chrysalis in dead leaves that are camouflaged. The leave litter provides protection from predators. Many other invertebrates rely on leave litter for survival.

Leaf litter also has the same benefits as adding shredded mulch. It also can add nutrients to the soil.

Read more on Leave the Leaves! from the Xerces Society .

Personnel Update

Victoria Halligan will not be working with the CSU Pollination Biology lab anymore. Thank you, Victoria for your help in the field this summer and good luck in your future endeavors!
Bee of the Week -  Striped Sweat Bees

Family - Halictidae

Scientific Name- Halictus spp .

Sweat bees received their name because they are often attracted to human sweat. Striped sweat bees are a widespread member of the sweat bee family, Halictidae and are one of the most abundant types of bees behind the honey bee. Halictus bees are ground nesters.  Most are considered primitively eusocial, which means they have characteristics of both eusocial (i.e. honey bees) and solitary bees. Many species have been known to form colonies of several hundred bees. The color of Halictus bees varies. Some species in this genus have a distinctive metallic sheen ranging from gold to bright green. A white and black striped abdomen is common. They are polylectic meaning they will forage on a variety of plants. There are seven species found in Colorado. 

Sources:
Photos: Lisa Mason
Plant of the Week - Chocolate flower

Scientific name: Berlandiera lyrata

This perennial wildflower is native to the Southwest in North America and grows best in dry to xeric environments. These plants flower continuously with their yellow flowers from June until it frosts. They are good for pollination and typically grow between 12-20 inches both tall and wide. To grow them yourself, they do best with good drainage and soils that are not too high in organic materials. If you cut them back in July, it helps them bloom longer and avoids sprawling. Probably the coolest thing about them, is that they actually smell like chocolate in the mornings! For more information, click here .
Source and photo:  Plant Select┬«
What's the Buzz? Pollinators in the News

Can You Pick the Bees Out of This Insect Lineup? Citizen Scientists - this should be easy! Test your knowledge on this New York Times quiz.
Photo: Micaela Truslove
A bumble bee, Bombus huntii at the Gardens on Spring Creek . 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