Spring Bees at ESF

Here in the northeast, our greatest diversity of bees is in the spring. That includes everything from newly-emerged queen bumblebees to common solitary bees to rare specialists. In cities and suburbs, the spring floral resources for bees and other pollinators can be limited, as a great deal of those early flowers are found in woodlands, particularly healthy, undisturbed, mature forests. That makes it all the more important we plant native flowering species around our homes and in our public spaces, from ephemeral woodland wildflowers like Jack-in-the-pulpit and spring beauty to trees and shrubs like serviceberries, (native) cherries, and dogwoods.
Bloodroot in front of Illick Hall.

Here on the ESF campus, we're making an effort to offer pollinators a variety of spring flowers. Last year, we revamped the Northern Hardwood Forest Demonstration Area with a diversity of native ephemerals (and new signage!). In the past month, we've seen some of them already bloom, like this hepatica:

At the time of writing, the white trilliums and foamflower are in full bloom!

Check out this observation of a horn-faced mason bee on the spring beauty we planted.

Through Bee Campus, we have also been working to add more edible pollinator plants to ESF's landscaping, including several blueberry bushes in front of Illick and an herb garden on the quad in front of Moon Library. Those blueberries are among the best bee plants, feeding dozens of species, including several specialists.

However, by far the most popular plant with bees this spring on campus has been the willows in front of Moon Library. These Salix caprea hybrids have attracted hundreds of cellophane bees (Colletes inaequalis) from their nesting aggregations in Oakwood Cemetery, along with multiple species of bumblebee queens, paper wasps, eastern carpenter bees, green sweat bees, mason bees, small carpenter bees, and several kinds of mining bees which are new records for our campus species list!

Colletes inaequalis female

I did some sweep-netting of the willows on April 12th, and turned up a respectable species list! Bees visiting the willow included:

This is of course, in addition to the many great observations you all have made from these willows - keep up the good work. Willow has several specialists that were not documented here - so I challenge you to find them!

Many of these same species were observed on the flowers of fragrant sumac, which is blooming all around campus, particularly on the side of Bray Hall near the old greenhouses (where the sand cherry and pawpaw are also located).

We want you to get out and document ESF's spring bees!
Our project shows that there are very few observations of our spring pollinator fauna, like mining bees in particular. We know they're around, so we're counting on you to photograph them in our newly planted areas like the Hardwood Forest Area and the Illick blueberries, as well as our well-established plantings like the fragrant sumac and serviceberries, plus the wild margins of campus. Many of the species found on ESF's willows are new iNat records for central New York, or even New York state! You too can find something new and contribute to our understanding of native bees.
Please remember to use the field 'Interaction -> Visited flower of:' when you post! That way, we can learn what plants we've installed are helping pollinators the most. If you visit the Hardwood Forest Area, please stay on the path - many of the flowers are very delicate or difficult to see, and are easily damaged by foot traffic. Thank you!

Publicado el martes, 09 de mayo de 2023 a las 03:25 PM por mollymjacobson mollymjacobson


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