A Citizen Science Project Exploring Bee Biodiversity in Northern Colorado
Native Bee Watch Newsletter #31
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! 
Thank You for a Great 2018 Season, Citizen Scientists!

We recently held our annual volunteer appreciation dinner to thank the 2018 citizen scientists and to celebrate all of their accomplishments. H ere are some impressive statistics from the summer:

  • 13 volunteers monitored in 2018
  • 49 monitoring sessions occurred from June through September at Nix Farm, the Gardens on Spring Creek, and the CSU Trial Gardens
  • Volunteers contributed to approximately 100 hours of monitoring
  • 7 citizen scientists volunteered more than the required 4 days
  • Only one monitoring date/location was not collected due to weather

A huge thank you to Nicole and Kathy for coordinating volunteers efforts! They were integral in leading the summer monitoring.

Thank you to all the citizen scientists for your hard work and dedication to Native Bee Watch!
Citizen scientists Cassie and Julie monitoring at the Gardens on Spring Creek. Photo: Lisa Mason
Volunteer coordinators Kathy and Nicole at the Gardens on Spring Creek. Photo: Lisa Mason
Pollinators at Black Mountain, North Carolina

While it snowed in October, I was visiting family in North Carolina and noticed an abundance of pollinators! The monarch butterflies were in the process of migration, and they were everywhere! Here is a small selection of photographs from Black Mountain.
Monarch butterfly ( Danaus plexippus ).
Common buckeye ( Junonia coenia ).

All photos: Lisa Mason
Spotted cucumber beetle ( Diabrotica undecimpunctata ).
Yellow-collared scape moth ( Cisseps fulvicollis).
The Black and White Ruffed Lemur and the Traveler's Tree

Bl ack and white ruffed lemurs ( Varecia variegata ) are the largest pollinators that we know of today. They pollinate the flowers of the traveler’s tree ( Ravenala madagascariensis ). Both the lemurs and trees are native to Madagascar and have co-evolved with each other.

The lemurs are arboreal mammals that eat mostly fruit but will also eat seeds, leaves, and nectar when they are available. They have long tongues, which makes it easy to reach the nectar in the traveler’s tree flowers. The flowers are surrounded by sturdy leaves, so it takes some dexterity, strength, and effort to reach the nectar. The lemurs have the needed skills to do so, and the flowers provide enough nectar for the lemurs that putting in the effort to reach the nectar is worth it. Due to the amount of nectar the flowers provide, researchers believe the tree evolved specifically to be pollinated by these larger mammals, as opposed to insects or birds.

These lemurs are the primary pollinator of the traveler’s tree. Whey they use their long tongues to reach the nectar, the pollen sticks to the fur on their face. They transport the pollen between flowers when they move to the next flower to get nectar, which cross-pollinates the trees.

Author: Brooke Sayre-Chavez
Bee of the Week - Perdita spp.

Family - Andrenidae

Scientific Name - Perdita spp.

Perdita bees are known for being very small but vibrantly colored. They are only found in North America, and so far, more than 650 species have been named. These bees are commonly found in desert habitats and thrive in the heat. Many are specialist pollinators that range from only pollinating certain genera of plants to only certain species, regardless of what else is available. Because of how specialized they are as pollinators, the times of year they are active varies based on what they pollinate and when those plants bloom. They nest in the ground and there is at least one species that nests at the bottom of seasonal lake beds! This means the bees may be underwater for 5-6 months during the winter when the lake isn’t dry! Most Perdita bees nest alone but sometimes bees will nest very close to each other or share an entrance and then each have their own tunnel. These bees are also very sensitive to humidity and will only emerge after a significant rain. Researchers hypothesize that this is due to the correlation between heavy rain and desert plants blooming. To protect the pollen they collect, these bees cover the pollen in a water proof coating. In Colorado, 46 species of Perdita bees have been documented. 

Author: Brooke Sayre-Chavez
Plant of the Week - GRANITA® Raspberry Ice Plant

Scientific Name - Delosperma 'PJS01S'

The GRANITA® Raspberry Ice Plant is a new Plant Select ® plant that was introduced in 2018. It’s a good plant for pollination and does well in well-drained loam or sandy soils with partial to full sun. The flowers are a raspberry pink color and resemble a carpet due to the dense arrangement of flowers. They grow 10-14 inches wide and only 1-2 inches tall. The plants bloom between late spring and fall. They look good arranged in a bed under taller perennials and shrubs. For more information, click here.

Author: Brooke Sayre-Chavez
Source and photo: Plant Select®
What's the Buzz? Pollinators in the News

Bees stopped buzzing during total solar eclipse . While everyone was watching the solar eclipse, these researchers and citizen scientists were listening to bees.

With Bugs, You’re Never Home Alone. A citizen-science project aims to catalog the spiders, insects, and other many-legged creatures that live indoors with us. Here is the link to the iNaturalist page , so you can contribute photos of the arthropods in your home.

11 Wildly Colored Moths to Brighten Your Day. Check out these beautiful pollinators!
Want to Learn More About Bees? Did You Check Out the Field Guide?

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.

You can download the field guide here !
Photo: Nicole Didero
Photo: Lisa Mason
A honey bee, Apis mellifera , near Black Mountain, North Carolina. 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