Monday, February 25, 2013

The Philly Bees' Stake in Pollination

by Stephanie Wilson, Endowed Plant Protection Intern

This past fall, I have been running around Philadelphia with an insect net in hand, surveying the wild bees (non-honey bees) in Philadelphia. The very fact that you can grow many vegetables and flowers in the city is because wild bees are present and pollinating. But very little is known about these city slickers and how they survive such a rough habitat: pavement instead of bare ground (which they dig nests in), patches of flowers instead of rolling meadows, and competition from non-native bee species that are slipping in through our shipping ports. This is exactly what I am researching as part of a survey of the flora and fauna that the USGS is conducting.

Stephanie Wilson (L) and Bombus impatiens (Common Eastern Bumblebee) pollinating a gentian Gentiana sp. (R)

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