A Citizen Science Project Exploring Bee Biodiversity in Northern Colorado
Native Bee Watch Newsletter #29
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! 
Native Bee Watch Citizen Science Field Guide Available Online!

Native Bee Watch: A Colorado Citizen Science Field Guide is used to train citizen scientists to monitor native bees. It is also a great resource for learning about other bees in your community. Contents include basic pollination biology, eusocial and solitary bee characteristics, differentiating bees from flies and wasps, and identifying eight different morphological categories.

Check it out here !
Last week was national Pollinator Week! What did you do the celebrate? You can always celebrate and take actions to protect pollinators!

Here are some things you can do:

  1. Post photos of your pollinator-friendly garden and the pollinators visiting your garden. Use hashtags such as #NativeBeeWatch, #PollinateCO #NativeBees and #ColoradoPollinators
  2. Reduce the use of pesticides in your backyard that can harm bees
  3. Spread the word about how important pollinators are to our planet! Bees pollinate over 70 crops and pollinate the most nutritious part of our diet including vegetables, fruits, and nuts!
  4. Create pollinator-friendly habitats in your yard! Check out the following for some ideas:

J oin us on Thursday, June 28th from 6-8pm at 3 Sisters Honey & Harvesting for an evening learning about pollinators. The workshop is located at 1480 Kingston Street, Aurora, Colorado. Food and drinks will be provided. Event cost is $15. More information here .

Brien Darby at the Denver Botanic Gardens will share knowledge on what and when to plant in your Colorado gardens. Lisa Mason with CSU Extension in Arapahoe County will speak about native bees and creating pollinator habitat.

Photo: Lisa Mason
Controlling Japanese Beetles while Protecting Pollinators

Japanese beetles are just starting to emerge this season in Colorado. You are probably familiar with the destruction they cause, especially if you live in the Denver Metro area. The larval stage feeds on the roots of turf grass, and the adult beetles feed on vegetation, including popular plants such as roses, crabapples, Virginia creepers, and linden trees. They can feed on over 300 plant types.

Controlling Japanese beetles has a major challenge: The adult beetles emerge at the same time many flowers are blooming. Pollinators may be on the same flowers. The same pesticides that will kill the beetles will also kill pollinators! We strongly urge all homeowners to do research on how to control the beetles without harming pollinators. CSU Extension has a great fact sheet on Japanese beetle control . If you have additional questions, contact your local extension office . We all must do our part to protect pollinators and other beneficial insects.
Newsletter Update

Newsletters will be sent out once a month all year around instead of biweekly during the summer season. If you have questions about pollinators or the Native Bee Watch program, you can always email Lisa at Lisa.Mason@colostate.edu.
Bee of the Week - European Wool Carder Bee

Family - Megachilidae

Scientific Name - Anthidium manicatum

One characteristic that bees in the Megachilidae family (leafcutter, resin, and mason bees) share is the special pollen-collecting hairs on the underside of their abdomen known as the scopa. When monitoring, we know this group as the hairy belly bee group. European wool carder bees are no exception.

They could be easily confused with wasps because of their distinctive yellow and black markings on their abdomen. Notice all the hair on their bodies, a characteristic of bees and not wasps. Also, they could be confused as one of the genera in the hairy leg bee category when monitoring because the hairs on the legs may be visible. However, the hair on the underside of the abdomen, though not always easy to see, are one of the distinguishing characteristics of the Megachilidae family and the hairy belly bee group.

They have been frequent visitors this summer when monitoring. This non-native bee scrapes the fine hairs off plants and uses them to line their cavity nest. Lamb's ear is a great example of a plant they use. Wool carder bees are polylectic meaning they will forage on a variety of plant species.

Sources: Bees in Your Backyard

Top and middle photos: Julie Elser, Citizen Scientist

Bottom photo: Lisa Mason
Plant of the Week - KANNAH CREEK® Buckwheat

Scientific Name - Eriogonum umbellatum var. aureum 'Psdowns'

KANNAH CREEK® buckwheat is a ground cover plant that grows to the height of 12-16 inches and width of 18-24 inches. The plant tends to bloom from May to July. The bright sulphur-colored flowers turn orange as the flowers age, and the green foliage turns a purple-red in winter. This perennial plant is native to western Colorado. When sited properly, KANNAH CREEK® buckwheat requires very little attention. It is not suitable to areas that are frequently irrigated, poorly drained, or soils highly amended with organic materials. The plant thrives in full sun to partial shade. You can often find bees pollinating the flowers.  For more information, click here.

Source and photo: Plant Select®
What's the Buzz? Pollinators in the News

Do monarch larvae get stressed from traffic noise? A ground-breaking new study examines their heart rates to find out.

Study: honey bees understand nothing. Australian scientists taught bees the concept of zero — something human children struggle with.
Photo: Nicole Didero
A leaf cutter bee, Megachile sp. 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