A Citizen Science Project Exploring Bee Biodiversity in Northern Colorado
Native Bee Watch Newsletter #24
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! 
Bee Thankful for Pollinators

There are so many things to be grateful for this holiday season including the meals we eat. Have you ever wondered how much of the food on the table we can thank pollinators for? Here is a list of common holiday menu items and who pollinates them:

  • Almonds - Honey bees
  • Apples - Honey bees, blue mason orchard bees
  • Cardamom - Honey bees, solitary bees
  • Chocolate - Bees, flies
  • Coffee - Stingless bees, other bees, flies
  • Cranberries - 40+ bee species
  • Dairy - Dairy cows eat alfalfa pollinated by leaf cutter and honey bees
  • Nutmeg - Honey bees, birds
  • Peppermint - Bees, flies
  • Pumpkin - Squash and gourd bees, bumble bees
  • Sugar cane - Bees, thrips
  • Vanilla - Bees

Photo: Lisa Mason
Bee of the Week -  Hunt's Bumble Bee

Family - Apidae

Scientific Name- Bombus huntii

Hunt’s bumble bee is a medium-tongued species that is medium-to-large, hairy, and native to North America. They live in high desert shrub habitats, prairies, and meadows and are common in urban areas. Hunt's bumble bee was the most commonly observed bumble bee by citizen scientists and researchers this past summer. They are generalist feeders, and they nest underground. Bumble bees in general are eusocial, which means they have a queen bee and worker bees. They also don’t make honey, since they start new colonies each year. They use the nectar and pollen collected to feed their developing young. Bumble bees stay active in colder weather more than most bees and can carry more pollen, so they are more efficient pollinators. They are estimated to do eight times the amount of work that honey bees can do! 

Photo: Lisa Mason
Plant of the Week - RED ROCKS ®  penstemon

Scientific name: Penstemon x mexicali 'P008S'

RED ROCKS ®   penstemon is a perennial flower native to North America. It flowers from June to August and has bright pink flowers with dark green, narrow leaves. It grows 14-18 inches tall and 12-14 inches wide. Clay, loam or sandy soils are where this plant grows best, and it does not need a lot of water. If you want to grow these yourself, it helps to aerate the soil surrounding these plants, but they are relatively easy and manageable to grow on your own! This plant is also deer-resistant. The hybrid plant was created by cross-breeding Mexican and American wild penstemons. This plant is great for pollinators! Honey bees and bumble bees are frequent visitors. For more information, click here .
Source and photo:  Plant Select®
What's the Buzz? Pollinators in the News

The biggest collection of spiders in Colorado is built on citizen science. This may not be pollinator-related, but the Colorado Spider Survey is very impressive with over 38,000 specimens--the largest spider collection in Colorado.

Tiny bees play big part in secret sex lives of trees. New research shows how tiny bees are carrying pollen long distances. Pollen carried long distances can promote genetic diversity in trees, which is an essential component for plants to adapt with challenges such as disease and climate change.
Photo: Micaela Truslove
A bee in the hairy leg bee group on a sunflower at Nix Farm. 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