Bee Project at Lost Mound
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service – Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge is looking for volunteers to collect bees found at Lost Mound. With so much interest in Honeybees here and in Europe and the existence of Bee Colony Collapse Disorder, the scientific community wonders if the same problem is affecting native bees. To help identify if a problem exists, they must get baseline numbers of native bees present and compare those numbers over time.
The year 2012 was the first year of an ongoing study to do a baseline study of the Lost Mound Site and JDCF members helped by collecting samples. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge oversaw the project at Lost Mound providing the materials and training. The samples were then sent for identification to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Pollinator Coordinator at Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge in Missouri. The results have been returned and they are impressive with 36 species within 15 different genus. The specimen collected are returned to the site and any unique bees found will be sent to the American Museum in DC.
Some native bees pollinate apples, cherries, squash, watermelon, blueberries, cranberries and tomatoes more effectively than do honey bees on a bee-per-bee basis. Many native bee species forage over a longer time period – earlier or later in the day – than honey bees. Native bees will often visit flowers in wet or cold conditions when honey bees remain in the hive.
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