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Habitat Management
for Native Pollinators 



(and Natural Enemies)
Robyn McCallum, Nancy McLean and Chris Cutler
November...
How can we enhance
agroecosystems?
Outline
• What is habitat management?
• How does it work?
• What are some benefits of habitat management?
• Native pollina...
What are Native Pollinators?
Wild Bees
• ~ 200 different bees in NS
• ~ 900 different bees in Canada
• ~ 20,000 worldwide
Bumble bees (Bombus)
Halictids
Image from entnemdept.ufl.edu
Image from discoverlife.org
Andrenids
Image from
naturespot.org.uk
Image form bee-busy.com
Megachilids
Images from bugguide.net
Apidae
Image from beneficialbugs.org
Managed Pollinators
• Honey Bees
• Alfalfa Leafcutter Bees
• Bumble bees
Why are native pollinators
important?
• conservation
• ‘insurance policy’
• free services- food and
plant biodiversity
• c...
VS
What are natural
enemies?
• beneficial insects,
parasitoids, predators
• Involved in pest control
• E.g. beetles, wasps
• ...
Why are natural enemies
important?
• Biological control
• Dual purpose- pollination
• Nature takes care of itself
Image fr...
Native Bee Biology
Solitary vs Social Bees
• Most bees are solitary
• Cavity nesting, ground nesting
• Some are social
- Honey bees ! hives
-...
Nesting
• Trees, stems, reeds,
under rocks, in old
cars, in roof eaves,
milk cartons
• Proximity of water
• Parasites- nes...
Food
• Typically pollen & nectar from flowers, but also oils
• Specialists vs generalists
How can we manage
nesting?
• Tubes for cavity-nesters
• Soil conditions for
ground-nesters
How can we manage food?
• Floral plantings along field edge
• Marginal land, ditches, etc have also been used
• Provides h...
• Annual and perennial wildflowers
• Growing interest in “native flowers”
• Important to have diversity of flowers- tongue...
• Important to note that bees and other pollinators need
food throughout the season- before and after crop
bloom
Nutrition
Foraging Range
• Depends on body size,
species
• Affects foraging & access to
flowers
• Ranges from ~100 m to 5 km
Emergence, Phenology
• Spring vs later in the season
• Varying adult life spans- weeks to months to years
• What happens i...
Development
• Bumble bees vs solitary bees
How do we think like bees?
• What are basic needs? Food, water,
habitat
Habitat Management
• Conservation biology ! improve
availability of resources (Landis et al. 2000)
• Connecting habitat mg...
Habitat Management
Potential benefits include:
Alternative or
complement to
managed bees
Increased
biodiversity
Increased
...
What Drives Conservation
Biology?
Economic
Factors
Conservation
Concerns
What do I plant?
• Annuals & Perennials
• Different bloom times
• Different flower structures
• Red clover, alfalfa, sweet clover, buckwheat, black eyed
susan, vetch, sunflowers
• Wild roses, goldenrod, St. John’s Wo...
Soil Prep
• pH **
• Tillage
• Habitat disturbance risks- mitigate with perennials
On-Farm Techniques
• Weeds for food- balancing act
• Woodpiles for habitat
• Setting aside poor land for flowers
• Pollina...
Public Concern for Native
Pollinators
• Population decline?
• Pesticides?
• Pathogen spillover from managed hives (or vice...
Enhancing Native Pollinators and
Natural Enemies in Wild
Blueberry Agroecosystems
• Many crops require pollinators for fruit set
• Pollinator services from managed bees = high input
costs
• Native pollina...
• Native pollinators provide
important ‘free’ services
• Populations could be
increased to become more
economically import...
Lowbush Blueberry
• Requires cross pollination
• Pollination services can be #1 cost (honey bees, other
managed bees)
• Un...
• Techniques to boost native
pollinators & natural enemies
• Focused on habitat and food
Objectives
Habitat
Trap nests Clay lids
Food
Buckwheat Operation Pollinator
Buckwheat
• Can we plant buckwheat around the field to provide
food after blueberry bloom?
Buckwheat
• Annual
• Can tolerate low pH
• Tolerates poor soil fertility
• Improves soil structure
• Doesn’t spread
• Attr...
Buckwheat
Data Collection
Buckwheat results so far
Challenges
• Producer inputs
!tillage, seed, management (no spray), need to plant
each year, perhaps 2x per season
• Droug...
Habitat
Trap nests Clay lids
Food
Buckwheat Operation Pollinator
Operation Pollinator
• Mixture of annuals and perennials
• Can we measure nectar content?
• What is persistence like, weed...
Habitat
Trap nests Clay lids
Food
Buckwheat Operation Pollinator
• Trap nests for Osmia species (Hymenoptera:
Megachilidae)
• Cavity-nesting bee, readily accepts artificial nests
• Known ...
• Solitary
• 8-9 species involved in blueberry (Stubbs et al. 1997)
• Queen lays eggs on pollen provision, larva ! pupa !
...
• Adult life span! 3- 5 weeks
• Can fly @ low temps and emerge early in season
• Need mud to ‘cap’ their nests, so water s...
• What species are involved?
• Does nesting uptake differ from crop field
to sprout field?
• When does nesting occur?
• Ar...
• 80 trap nests in 4 fields (64 wooden, 16
milk cartons)
• Placed 10 m apart along field edge
and facing the sun, supporte...
Wooden Trap Nests
• Examined different hole
diameters, rain cover,
burning
• Tubes were 10 cm deep
• 12 tubes/ 2L carton
• Tubes = 15 cm long
• Varying diameters (7 and 9 mm)
• Tubes from rolled white paper + newspaper an...
Results 2014
Nesting Success
%
Success
0
18
35
53
70
Nest Type
milk carton wooden
• n =
n = 14
• Focused on milk cartons only
• Compared crop and sprout
Materials & Methods-
2015
• Modified design
• 16 tubes instead of 12
• All the same diameter (7 mm)
• Added plastic straws
Milk Cartons- 2015
• 26/32 milk cartons had capped nests (81%)
• 4 milk cartons were removed due to bear
damage
Results & Discussion-
2015
Question: Crop vs Sprout
• No significant difference
• Trade offs for nearby
crop/sprout rotations
(bees & pests)
Question: Timing
Phenology of Osmia Nesting in 2015
Total#CappedNests
0
35
70
105
140
Date
12-Jun 26-Jun 1-Jul 10-Jul 17-J...
Question: Timing
• Capped nests appeared
after blueberry bloom had
finished
• Not all tubes were capped
at the ends
• Quee...
• TBD, as well as species
of Osmia
Question: Parasitism
• Why are milk cartons attractive?
-Longer tubes
-Smell?
-Pink Styrofoam? White carton?
• Landscape factors- water sources...
Implications for Industry &
Science
• Better understanding of Osmia nesting
biology & involvement in wild blueberry
• Nest...
Implications for Industry
& Science
• More efficient pollination
• Biodiversity conservation
• Alternative & complement to...
Diversity of pollinators demands a diversity of habitat
management techniques
Global Importance
• $ for farmers in Europe who implement
bee-friendly practices
• Marketing strategy for US farms “bee
fr...
Community Engagement
• Fact sheets for blueberry production
• OP seed mix fact sheet
• 4H pollinator project development
•...
Agvocate Challenge
• We need more positive ag stories!
• First blossom, bees, tractors, people
• Use opportunity to share
Resources
• Lawrence Packer Lab, York
University
• Sheila Colla- online resources
• Nova Scotia Dept of Ag handout
re: bee...
Acknowledgements
Committee Members
Dr. Paul Hoekstra, Syngenta
Blueberry Producers of NS for Field Sites
Snake Patrol
Robyn McCallum
Robyn.mccallum@dal.ca
@mccallumrobyn
Questions?
Habitat Mangement for Native Pollinators
Habitat Mangement for Native Pollinators
Habitat Mangement for Native Pollinators
Habitat Mangement for Native Pollinators
Habitat Mangement for Native Pollinators
Habitat Mangement for Native Pollinators
Habitat Mangement for Native Pollinators
Habitat Mangement for Native Pollinators
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Robyn McCallum presents at the 2015 Acorn Conference

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Habitat Mangement for Native Pollinators

  1. 1. Habitat Management for Native Pollinators 
 
 (and Natural Enemies) Robyn McCallum, Nancy McLean and Chris Cutler November 2015 ACORN
  2. 2. How can we enhance agroecosystems?
  3. 3. Outline • What is habitat management? • How does it work? • What are some benefits of habitat management? • Native pollinators in Atlantic Canada • Natural enemies • Biology • Their needs • How do we start thinking like them?
  4. 4. What are Native Pollinators?
  5. 5. Wild Bees • ~ 200 different bees in NS • ~ 900 different bees in Canada • ~ 20,000 worldwide
  6. 6. Bumble bees (Bombus)
  7. 7. Halictids Image from entnemdept.ufl.edu Image from discoverlife.org
  8. 8. Andrenids Image from naturespot.org.uk Image form bee-busy.com
  9. 9. Megachilids Images from bugguide.net
  10. 10. Apidae Image from beneficialbugs.org
  11. 11. Managed Pollinators • Honey Bees • Alfalfa Leafcutter Bees • Bumble bees
  12. 12. Why are native pollinators important? • conservation • ‘insurance policy’ • free services- food and plant biodiversity • challenges facing managed bees • efficient & effective • buzz pollination
  13. 13. VS
  14. 14. What are natural enemies? • beneficial insects, parasitoids, predators • Involved in pest control • E.g. beetles, wasps • Similar needs as pollinators
  15. 15. Why are natural enemies important? • Biological control • Dual purpose- pollination • Nature takes care of itself Image from atlanticpestsolutions.net Image from ipm.iastate.edu
  16. 16. Native Bee Biology
  17. 17. Solitary vs Social Bees • Most bees are solitary • Cavity nesting, ground nesting • Some are social - Honey bees ! hives - Bumble bees ! rodent holes
  18. 18. Nesting • Trees, stems, reeds, under rocks, in old cars, in roof eaves, milk cartons • Proximity of water • Parasites- nesting aggregation • Soil tillage
  19. 19. Food • Typically pollen & nectar from flowers, but also oils • Specialists vs generalists
  20. 20. How can we manage nesting? • Tubes for cavity-nesters • Soil conditions for ground-nesters
  21. 21. How can we manage food? • Floral plantings along field edge • Marginal land, ditches, etc have also been used • Provides habitat in addition to food at valuable times
  22. 22. • Annual and perennial wildflowers • Growing interest in “native flowers” • Important to have diversity of flowers- tongue length, nectar rewards
  23. 23. • Important to note that bees and other pollinators need food throughout the season- before and after crop bloom
  24. 24. Nutrition
  25. 25. Foraging Range • Depends on body size, species • Affects foraging & access to flowers • Ranges from ~100 m to 5 km
  26. 26. Emergence, Phenology • Spring vs later in the season • Varying adult life spans- weeks to months to years • What happens if required flowers aren’t blooming at the right time? Climate change? Evolution? Tongue length example
  27. 27. Development • Bumble bees vs solitary bees
  28. 28. How do we think like bees? • What are basic needs? Food, water, habitat
  29. 29. Habitat Management • Conservation biology ! improve availability of resources (Landis et al. 2000) • Connecting habitat mgmt with pollinator abundance and crop yield ? • Apple & highbush blueberry studies
  30. 30. Habitat Management Potential benefits include: Alternative or complement to managed bees Increased biodiversity Increased biological control
  31. 31. What Drives Conservation Biology? Economic Factors Conservation Concerns
  32. 32. What do I plant? • Annuals & Perennials • Different bloom times • Different flower structures
  33. 33. • Red clover, alfalfa, sweet clover, buckwheat, black eyed susan, vetch, sunflowers • Wild roses, goldenrod, St. John’s Wort • Phacelia? Wild bergamot? • Spring-flowering trees (willow, etc.) • Takes time- both plant and bee establishment
  34. 34. Soil Prep • pH ** • Tillage • Habitat disturbance risks- mitigate with perennials
  35. 35. On-Farm Techniques • Weeds for food- balancing act • Woodpiles for habitat • Setting aside poor land for flowers • Pollinator gardens
  36. 36. Public Concern for Native Pollinators • Population decline? • Pesticides? • Pathogen spillover from managed hives (or vice versa??) • Lack of habitat ** • Lack of food (flowers) **
  37. 37. Enhancing Native Pollinators and Natural Enemies in Wild Blueberry Agroecosystems
  38. 38. • Many crops require pollinators for fruit set • Pollinator services from managed bees = high input costs • Native pollinators are efficient, effective and already present (Javorek et al. 2002) Background
  39. 39. • Native pollinators provide important ‘free’ services • Populations could be increased to become more economically important
  40. 40. Lowbush Blueberry • Requires cross pollination • Pollination services can be #1 cost (honey bees, other managed bees) • Unique cropping system (crop vs sprout) • Opportunity to enhance agroecosystem for pollinators
  41. 41. • Techniques to boost native pollinators & natural enemies • Focused on habitat and food Objectives
  42. 42. Habitat Trap nests Clay lids Food Buckwheat Operation Pollinator
  43. 43. Buckwheat • Can we plant buckwheat around the field to provide food after blueberry bloom?
  44. 44. Buckwheat • Annual • Can tolerate low pH • Tolerates poor soil fertility • Improves soil structure • Doesn’t spread • Attractive to bees • Long blooming period • Used for honey bees
  45. 45. Buckwheat
  46. 46. Data Collection
  47. 47. Buckwheat results so far
  48. 48. Challenges • Producer inputs !tillage, seed, management (no spray), need to plant each year, perhaps 2x per season • Drought • Deer • Economic benefits? • Conservation benefits?
  49. 49. Habitat Trap nests Clay lids Food Buckwheat Operation Pollinator
  50. 50. Operation Pollinator • Mixture of annuals and perennials • Can we measure nectar content? • What is persistence like, weed invasion, etc?
  51. 51. Habitat Trap nests Clay lids Food Buckwheat Operation Pollinator
  52. 52. • Trap nests for Osmia species (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae) • Cavity-nesting bee, readily accepts artificial nests • Known to be good pollinators Habitat Management for Mason Bees
  53. 53. • Solitary • 8-9 species involved in blueberry (Stubbs et al. 1997) • Queen lays eggs on pollen provision, larva ! pupa ! emerges the next year (Torchio 1989; Bosch et al. 2001) • Linear sequence of ‘cells’ Osmia Biology
  54. 54. • Adult life span! 3- 5 weeks • Can fly @ low temps and emerge early in season • Need mud to ‘cap’ their nests, so water source important Osmia Biology www.bugguide.net
  55. 55. • What species are involved? • Does nesting uptake differ from crop field to sprout field? • When does nesting occur? • Are nests parasitized? Questions
  56. 56. • 80 trap nests in 4 fields (64 wooden, 16 milk cartons) • Placed 10 m apart along field edge and facing the sun, supported on stakes • Set out 22 April in crop fields in northeastern Nova Scotia Materials & Methods- 2014
  57. 57. Wooden Trap Nests • Examined different hole diameters, rain cover, burning • Tubes were 10 cm deep
  58. 58. • 12 tubes/ 2L carton • Tubes = 15 cm long • Varying diameters (7 and 9 mm) • Tubes from rolled white paper + newspaper and placed through high-density polystyrene foam; spray foam insulation to support tubes (Sheffield et al. 2007) • Cartons painted white Milk Cartons
  59. 59. Results 2014 Nesting Success % Success 0 18 35 53 70 Nest Type milk carton wooden • n = n = 14
  60. 60. • Focused on milk cartons only • Compared crop and sprout Materials & Methods- 2015
  61. 61. • Modified design • 16 tubes instead of 12 • All the same diameter (7 mm) • Added plastic straws Milk Cartons- 2015
  62. 62. • 26/32 milk cartons had capped nests (81%) • 4 milk cartons were removed due to bear damage Results & Discussion- 2015
  63. 63. Question: Crop vs Sprout • No significant difference • Trade offs for nearby crop/sprout rotations (bees & pests)
  64. 64. Question: Timing Phenology of Osmia Nesting in 2015 Total#CappedNests 0 35 70 105 140 Date 12-Jun 26-Jun 1-Jul 10-Jul 17-Jul 22-Jul 31-Jul • Blueberry Bloom
  65. 65. Question: Timing • Capped nests appeared after blueberry bloom had finished • Not all tubes were capped at the ends • Queens likely nested in more than one tube
  66. 66. • TBD, as well as species of Osmia Question: Parasitism
  67. 67. • Why are milk cartons attractive? -Longer tubes -Smell? -Pink Styrofoam? White carton? • Landscape factors- water sources, previous populations, food throughout season Discussion 2015
  68. 68. Implications for Industry & Science • Better understanding of Osmia nesting biology & involvement in wild blueberry • Nests could be moved to crop fields requiring pollinators • Practical, inexpensive technique
  69. 69. Implications for Industry & Science • More efficient pollination • Biodiversity conservation • Alternative & complement to managed bees
  70. 70. Diversity of pollinators demands a diversity of habitat management techniques
  71. 71. Global Importance • $ for farmers in Europe who implement bee-friendly practices • Marketing strategy for US farms “bee friendly farms” • “bee friendly” product labeling
  72. 72. Community Engagement • Fact sheets for blueberry production • OP seed mix fact sheet • 4H pollinator project development • Grower field days • Industry meetings • Schools • Garden Clubs
  73. 73. Agvocate Challenge • We need more positive ag stories! • First blossom, bees, tractors, people • Use opportunity to share
  74. 74. Resources • Lawrence Packer Lab, York University • Sheila Colla- online resources • Nova Scotia Dept of Ag handout re: bees • Discover Life • Bug Guide
  75. 75. Acknowledgements Committee Members Dr. Paul Hoekstra, Syngenta Blueberry Producers of NS for Field Sites Snake Patrol
  76. 76. Robyn McCallum Robyn.mccallum@dal.ca @mccallumrobyn Questions?

Robyn McCallum presents at the 2015 Acorn Conference

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