Posts Tagged: Gordon Frankie
Holland focused on the work of Gordon Frankie, an urban entomologist at UC Berkeley. He has been studying the foraging habits of native bees in Costa Rica to find out how much they forage in urban gardens.
Costa Rica has 800 bee species; Gordon's team has collected 112. They found that in most cases, a plant specimen located in an urban setting attracts as many bee species as does its wild counterpart. Occasionally, city specimens actually get more bees than the wild ones. As many as 80 percent of the native bees observed in wild settings were also visiting the urban gardens.
“That was higher than we expected, and it gave us hope. As more natural areas are disappearing or being impacted by humans, urban areas offer something more stable — people are looking after them," Frankie said.
Frankie is also monitoring the status of native bees in California, where there are 1,600 species, the article said. Gordon and his team have found 90 species of bees in the San Francisco Bay Area and East Bay region. Gardeners can help local bees by putting the Best Bee Plants for California around their homes.
Frankie also has a new book for sale, California Bees and Blooms: A Guide for Gardeners and Naturalists, $28 from Heyday Books./span>
It's National Pollinator Week. Have you hugged your pollinators today, particularly the bees?
If you don't pay attention to the bees around you, you may think that every floral visitor is a honey bee (Apis mellifera) or a bumble bee (Bombus).
If you look closely, you'll see bee diversity: leafcutter bees, green metallic sweat bees, cuckoo bees, long-horned bees, carpenter bees, and squash bees, just to name a few.
Native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, UC Davis emeritus professor of entomology, has detected 80 different species of bees - and counting - in the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven on Bee Biology Road at UC Davis. The half-acre garden, planted in the fall of 2009, is located next to the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility. It's intended to be a year-around food source for the Laidlaw bees and other pollinators, to raise public awareness about the plight of bees, and to demonstrate what you can plant in your own garden.
"Of about 4,000 bee species known in the entire United States, about 1,600 have been recorded in California," according to Gordon Frankie of UC Berkeley, Robbin Thorp and their colleagues, in a must-read article in California Agriculture.
They point out: "...many types of urban residential gardens provide floral and nesting resources for the reproduction and survival of bees, especially a diversity of native bees. Habitat gardening for bees, using targeted ornamental plants, can predictably increase bee diversity and abundance, and provide clear pollination benefits."
Be sure to check out UC Berkeley's Urban Bee Gardens website that's described as "a practical guide to introducing the world’s most prolific pollinators into your garden." It's an educational treasure.
Bottom line: It's good to bee-aware, especially when research studies show that our pollinator population is declining worldwide.
A male cuckoo bee, Triepeolus concavus, the cuckoo that is a cleptoparasite on Svastra, according to Robbin Thorp. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Female metallic green sweat bee, Agapostemon texanus. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A male leafcutting bee, Megachile sp., on rock purslane. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A male long-horned bee, Melissodes communis, on salvia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A male Valley carpenter bee, Xylocopa varipuncta. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Male squash bee, Peponapis pruinosa. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)