bees in flight - busy pollinating my vegetables!
(BugGuide ID request for this bee)
I heard a nice story on NPR the other day (The Buzz On Bees: Coping With Vanishing Colonies, August 7, 2009). Mostly about urban bees.
I didn't know there are 227 bee species in New York City - all year-round residents. And 4,000 across the US. Its wonderful to think of such biodiversity in backyards.
Unfortunately, bee numbers are still declining. "There's been an estimated ... 36 percent decline .. since last year."
I was interested in the description of a recent study. So far, no single factor explains bee decline. "All of the research over these past years have left us still kind of scratching our heads. In fact, one of the largest [studies] we just published earlier this week, where at least 61 or so variables were investigated in colonies afflicted with the CCD or colony collapse disorder kind of syndrome. And the long and the short of it is, is that no one factor really seems to have a strong correlation with the disorder. And so what seems to be the case is that there's a combination of many different factors…" (vanEngelsdorp, et al., 2009, PloS ONE)
Probably many different problems all together are affecting bee populations.
My experience with bees this year has been positive. My cukes and pumpkins are being pollinated fine and I see lots of bees in both my gardens. More than last year. I also notice a lot more flowers and around my neighborhood and our community gardens. More interest in gardens here. That's got to be good for the bees.
(BugGuide ID request for this bee) Xylocopa virginica (Eastern carpenter bee)