Comparison of ground nesting bee (Apoidea) abundance and diversity between bison wallows and adjacent prairie

Lead Applicant: Joshua Campbell

Organization: USDA-ARS

Abstract: Approximately 67% of the 4,000 native bee species in the United
States construct and inhabit nests in soil. However, despite the importance of
bees for pollination services for crops and native plants, soil characteristics that
drive bee nesting are poorly understood. Bison create bowl-like depressions
(commonly called wallows) in the dirt by repeatedly rolling on the ground. Bare
soil patches created by wallowing behavior may be important for many bee
species for nest construction. However, how wallows specifically affect bees,
arguably the most important insect pollinators, is largely unknown. This project
proposes to compare ground nesting bee abundance and diversity between
wallows and adjacent prairie (non-wallowed area) by using emergence traps (a
type of insect trap that collect insects that emerge from the ground) and visual
surveys. Knowledge of how bison behavior affects native bees will potentially
elucidate further the importance of bison within native prairie ecosystems.

Funding: $14,462 over 2 years


Posted on

August 24, 2021

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