Basics of Pollinator Biology:
• Pollinators include bees, but also various other insects (wasps, beetles, moths, flies, etc.) and other animals (hummingbirds, bats, small mammals); any creature that visits a flower could be a pollinator to some extent!
-Of these creatures, bees are amongst our best and most important pollinators.
• The US is home to ~4,000 bee species; Wisconsin is home to ~400 bee species
– Honey Bee (1 sp.) social, live as colony year round
– Bumble Bees (~20 sp.) social, seasonal colonies
– Wild Bees (~400 sp. in several families) solitary, biology varies for each type
• Bees pollinate ~80% of flowering plants (~250,000 flowering plants known)
-Roughly 1 out of every 3 bites of food due to pollinators
• Bees have two main needs: food sources (i.e., flowers) and shelter (i.e., nesting habitat)
– Other than cuckoo bees, all bees collect pollen and nectar to feed their young
– Solitary bees use provisioning to stockpile food for their developing young
– Three main types of nesting sites:
A) Ground nesters [~70 % of bees]
B) Hole Nesters (use preexisting tunnels in most cases) [~30 % of bees]
C) Cavity nesters (bumble bees, feral honeybees) [<1% of bees]