Online guide provides the A-Bee-C's of bee identification

11/21/2013 01:57:00 PM
Vicky Boyd

University of Wisconsin graduate student Rachel Mallinger wants to teach growers, landowners and curious citizens the A-Bee-C's of native insect populations.

She has developed an online bee identification guide titled, "Spring Wild Bees of Wisconsin," according to a news release.

The project was funded by a U.S. Department of Agriculture Research and Education grant and presents a step-by-step guide to native bees active in the spring.

It includes 13 native bumblebee species, 200 black-and-white striped bees and seven blue Mason bees.

In addition, the guide provides users with information about the benefits of bees, such as pollination, as well as the habitat they prefer.

The project was an offshoot of Mallinger's graduate research, which examined whether wild bee populations alone could adequately pollinate Wisconsin's primary commercial fruit crops.

She found that yes, there are enough native bees to pollinate the crops.

But some farmers bring in additional managed bee colonies to ensure they have adequate pollination.

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