A Six-Year Study of Bee (Superfamily Apoidea) Diversity and Abundance in Georgia Apple Orchards

Tuesday, March 15, 2016: 11:39 AM
Magnolia Room I (Sheraton Raleigh Hotel)
Nicholas Stewart , Georgia Gwinnett College, Lawrenceville, GA
Mark Schlueter , Georgia Gwinnett College, Lawrenceville, GA
Bees play a critical role in the pollination of fruit, nut, and vegetable agriculture, contributing over $15 Billion in pollination services each year.  In the following study, native bee abundance and diversity was investigated from 2010-2015 in Georgia apple orchards.  The survey occurred over the entire growing season (March-September) with special emphasis on the apple bloom. Over 20,000 bees were collected using pan traps, vane traps, malaise traps, and sweep netting. 2010 was a traditional apple bloom dominated by Andrena species.  In 2011 and 2012, the apple bloom occurred 2 to 4 weeks early.  During these blooms, fewer Andrena species were present; however, greater abundances of Osmia species and other non-Andrena bees were documented. In 2013, the apple bloom was 2-3 weeks later than the traditional bloom.  Overall diversity and abundance were higher than in the previous years.  In 2014 and 2015, a traditional apple bloom occurred, and the Andrena species dominated the samples. In order to use native bees successfully in commercial agriculture a better understanding of the abundance, diversity, emergence times, and pollination behaviors of the native bee species is needed.   In Georgia, the mining bees (Andrena species) appear to be good candidates to serve as commercial pollinators.
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