Posts Tagged: Osmia
A good place to learn about them is at the UC Davis Department of Entomology seminar on Wednesday, Feb. 6.
James “Jim” Cane, a research entomologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service’s Biology and Systematics Lab, Utah State University, will speak on “The Spectrum of Managed Nesting for Pollination by Non-Social Bees” from 12:10 to 1 p.m. in Room 1022 of the Life Sciences Addition, corner of Hutchison and Kleiber Hall drives, UC Davis campus.
Host is graduate student Leslie Saul-Gershanz of the Neal Williams lab.
“Most bees nest underground; the remainder largely nesting above-ground, either in beetle holes in deadwood or in pity stems,” Cane says. “The vast majority of bees are non-social, yet only a very few of these species of each nesting habitats are managed for crop pollination. They will be used to illustrate realized and sustained population growth under management, as well as the factors that allow or impede broader use of non-social bees for agriculture.”
“I will then summarize ongoing experience with methods and materials to multiply other native cavity-nesting bees, notably species of Osmia, desired to pollinate tree fruits, bramble fruits and native seed crops, highlighting the costs and challenges that emerge at larger scales of management.”
Cane has spent many of the past 25 years studying the nesting and pollination ecologies of native non-social bees of North America and elsewhere. He has worked with pollination and pollinators of alfalfa, cranberries, blueberries, squashes, almonds, raspberries and a host of native seed crops used for restoration seed. He is currently multiplying three species of Osmia bees for these applications.
For the past 13 years, Cane has worked for the USDA at the Pollinating Insect Research Unit at Utah State University in Logan, Utah. Prior to that, he was on the faculty of Auburn University in Alabama and was a post-doctoral fellow at UC Berkeley. He received his doctorate from the University of Kansas.
The seminar will be videotaped for later posting on UCTV.
Female mason bee, genus Osmia (Family Megachilidae), as identified by native pollinator specialist/emeritus professor Robbin Thorp of UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
During the day, European wool carder bees (so named because the females collect or "card" plant fuzz for their nests) forage on our catmint and lamb's ear.
These bees, Anthidium manicatum, are about the size of a honey bee, but with striking yellow and black markings. From Europe and fairly new to the United States, they became established in New York in 1963, and then began spreading west. Eventually this exotic species made its way to California. Bee scientists first identified it in California (Sunnyvale) in 2007.
"The females nest in convenient cavities such as old beetle holes and hollow stems," according native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, emeritus professor entomology at UC Davis. Its plant preferences include lamb’s ear (Stachys byzantine, in the mint family Lamiaceae), a perennial grown for its fuzzy, silvery gray-green foliage.
At night, the females return to their nests. But for the boys, it's the boys' night out.
The "boy bees," as Thorp calls them, "sleep wherever they can."
Every night and early morning, we see a male sleeping inside one of our native bee condos. This particular condo, located several feet above our catmint patch, is drilled with "large" holes to accommodate the blue orchard bee (Osmia), a mason bee. The holes really aren't that large, but they are compared to our bee condo for the smaller leafcutting bees.
For awhile, our mason bee condo drew nothing but earwigs. Not one blue orchard bee (BOB).
Now we have a exotic species sleeping in a native bee condo.
What a treat! At least we have one tenant!
When we took his picture in the early morning, the European wool carder bee didn't budge. Guess he's saving his energy to chase the girls around in the catmint patch.
This bee condo, meant for blue orchard bees, is attracting a European wool carder bee, Anthidium manicatum. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Close-up of a sleeping European wool carder bee, Anthidium manicatum. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
European wool carder bee, Anthidium manicatum, in flight, heading for lavender. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)