D0091 An assessment of native bees as crop pollinators in the New River Valley of southwest Virginia

Monday, December 14, 2009
Hall D, First Floor (Convention Center)
Nancy Adamson , Entomology Department, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA
Richard Fell , Entomology Department, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
Donald Mullins , Department of Entomology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA
Along with honey bees, native bees insure crop success for many of Virginia's fruit and vegetable farmers. Recent declines in honey bee populations have led to greater interest in native bees, but little is known about their relative importance in Virginia, except for squash and bumble bees. This research investigates bee visits to insect pollinated crops (comparing honey bees and native bees), the changing diversity of bee populations through the growing season, and the potential influence of habitats and forage surrounding farms on bee diversity and abundance. Crops studied include apple, blueberry, caneberries, summer squash, winter squash, melons, and cucumbers. Results from two field seasons indicate that the relative importance of native bees, as well as diversity, increases through the growing season. As expected, honey bees and bumble bees were found throughout the growing season, andrenid bees were prevalent only in spring on apples and blueberries, and halictid bees increased in abundance and diversity along with various other groups in middle and late summer.

doi: 10.1603/ICE.2016.41883